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David Letterman sweeps ratings for first time since Jay Leno's return in March

Has the balance of power in late-night TV shifted yet again?

CBS' "Late Show with David Letterman" has beaten NBC's "Tonight Show" in viewers and the key demographic groups for the first time since Jay Leno returned to the latter program last March.

Last week, Letterman averaged 3.8 million total viewers, compared with 3.6 million for Leno, according to figures published Thursday by the Nielsen Co.

In adults aged 18 to 49, the group most closely watched by most advertisers. Letterman averaged a 1.0 rating/4 share, compared with a 0.9 rating/4 share for Leno. For the previous three weeks, "Late Show" had tied "Tonight" but until now had not managed to slip past its longtime rival among young adults.

This is of course not the result NBC executives had hoped for. In January, NBC Universal Entertainment chairman Jeff Gaspin predicted Leno would reconnect with his fan base and that viewers across the country were largely uninterested in the corporate mess that resulted in Conan O'Brien being booted from "Tonight" and Leno resuming his place.

O'Brien's TBS show, by the way, starts Monday.

— Scott Collins (Twitter: @scottcollinsLAT)

Photo: David Letterman. Credit: CBS.




Comments () | Archives (5)

Why do you run thrugh the backstage to come out to the front stage everyday? we all can see you running....is it that you want to make any statements. I see the program every night for at least 30 yrs and I know you like to take vacations but why can't you just tape as many episodes you are going to be out on vacation? instead of repeats you have, would appreciate it a lot if you leave recorded in tape new programs for those days you will be out, we hate reruns we have seen them. then we have to watch Jay leno.Why don't you tape a few in your farm in the west you don't have to say where it is but we would like to see your house. maybe have Paul shaffer play "live in your porch overlooking the rockies.
You are #1, love your everyday different suite and ties

Ahhhh, what a beautiful thing. Just in time for Conan's return. Can't wait to read Bill Carter's take.

He bearly beat Leno.. why is everyone making a big deal of this? If he had like 5 million to Leno's 1 million, then fine. And ratings are only done from certain houses, technically Leno could have had 10 million and Letterman only has 5 million... but the world may never know

So after 15 years of Leno winning we're supposed to be excited over Letterman's 1 week win?

I was told a bad Leno episode was better than a good Letterman episode. I guess that statement became invalid.


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