Conan's 'Late Night' Finale Captures the Show's Highest 18-49 Rating Since 2006

Categories: Late Night TV Ratings,Network TV Press Releases

Written By

February 26th, 2009

via NBC press release:

Conan'S 'LATE NIGHT' FINALE CAPTURES THE SHOW'S HIGHEST 18-49 RATING SINCE DECEMBER 2006 AND BIGGEST OVERALL AUDIENCE SINCE JANUARY 2005

ON HIS FAREWELL 'LATE NIGHT' TELECAST, Conan O'BRIEN ACHIEVES HIS HIGHEST FRIDAY RESULTS SINCE DECEMBER 2004 

Conan RETAINS 100 PERCENT OF HIS 18-49 LEAD-IN RATING FROM 'TONIGHT' FOR THE FIRST TIME, WHILE TOPPING LETTERMAN BY A 75 PERCENT MARGIN 

FOR THE WEEK, Conan OUTSCORES LETTERMAN IN 18-49 VIEWERS DESPITE CONAN'S LATER START TIME 

JAY LENO DELIVERS HIS BIGGEST 18-49 WIN OVER A WEEK OF 'Late Show' ORIGINALS IN FIVE MONTHS 

'Last Call' GRABS ITS BIGGEST 18-49 AUDIENCE IN 16 MONTHS 

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. – February 26, 2009 – NBC's late-night lineup has dominated the week of February 16-20, as the final original telecast of "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" generated the show's highest 18-49 rating since December 2006 and biggest overall viewership since January 2005. 

On Friday, February 20, the last first-run telecast of "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" scored a 1.4 rating, 7 share in adults 18-49, the show's best nightly rating since Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2006 (also a 1.4). The last time "Late Night" scored a higher rating was Monday, Jan. 24, 2005 (1.9). 

Friday's Conan telecast retained 100 percent of its lead-in rating from "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," marking the first time Conan's 12:35 a.m. ET "Late Night" rating has tied Jay's 11:35 p.m. "Tonight" rating of the same night. Friday's Conan also led CBS's "Late Show with David Letterman" by 0.6 of a rating point or a 75 percent margin (1.4 vs. 0.8).

In total viewers, Friday's Conan (3.4 million) generated the show's best delivery since Monday, Jan. 24, 2005 (3.9 million, with a repeat following a "Tonight Show" tribute to Johnny Carson). 

These are Conan's top 18-49 and total-viewer results for a Friday telecast since December 31, 2004 (1.7 in 18-49, 4.0 million viewers overall). Versus his averages for the current season (0.8/4 in 18-49, 2.0 million viewers), Conan was up Friday night by 75 percent in 18-49 and 70 percent in total viewers. 

For the week, Conan averaged a 1.0/6 in adult 18-49 rating and 2.4 million viewers overall. This was the show's best weekly average in both measures since the week of December 31, 2007-January 4, 2008 (1.0/5 in 18-49, 2.5 million viewers overall), when "Late Night" returned from that season's strike hiatus. The last time "Late Night" averaged higher than a 1.0 for a week was February 12-16, 2007 (1.1). 

Conan delivered a bigger adult 18-49 audience than Letterman last week (1.310 million vs. 1.291 million), despite Conan's later start time. 

It was also a banner week for "Tonight," which generated its biggest 18-49 audience in 10 weeks (since December 8-12, 2008), to win over "Late Show" by a 50 percent margin. This marks Jay's biggest advantage over a week of Letterman originals in more than five months (since the week of August 25-29, 2008). 

At 1:35 a.m. ET for the week, "Last Call with Carson Daly" delivered its biggest adult 18-49 audience (717,000) in 16 months (since the week of October 15-19, 2007, 753,000). "Last Call" pulled within a tenth of a rating point of ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live" for the week in adults 18-49 and tied CBS's "Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson." In the valuable adult 18-34 category, "Last Call" tied the ratings of both Kimmel and Ferguson (0.4 each).

The February 20 final first-run telecast of "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" featured appearances by Will Ferrell, Conan's former "Late Night" sidekick Andy Richter and the White Stripes, plus filmed appearances by John Mayer and Abe Vigoda. 

Conan took over as host of "Late Night" on September 13, 1993 and has been the dominant force in the time period since then, winning the slot for the last 15 seasons in a row. Beginning Monday, March 2, "Saturday Night Live" alum Jimmy Fallon will take over as "Late Night" host. Conan assumes hosting duties of "The Tonight Show" on Monday, June 1 after Jay Leno's last "Tonight" telecast on Friday, May 29. 

Season to date, Jay is delivering a 23 percent margin of victory over Letterman in adult 18-49 viewers and a 29 percent advantage in total viewers, while Conan's leads over Ferguson are 28 percent in 18-49 and 4 percent in total viewers. Both Jay and Conan pull away among younger adults, with Jay leading the season by a 44 percent margin among adult 18-34 viewers and Conan winning by 65 percent. 

For the week of February 16-20, Jay's average 1.933 million adults 18-49 topped the 1.291 million of Letterman; in total viewers, Jay's audience of 5.153 million persons beat Letterman's 3.706 million; and in adults 18-34, Jay's 755,000 out-scored Letterman's 439,000. At 12:35 a.m. ET, Conan's 1.310 million adults 18-49 for the week out-delivered Ferguson's 697,000; in total viewers, Conan's 2.428 million beat Ferguson's 1.870 million; and in adults 18-34, Conan's 652,000 topped Ferguson's 254,000. 

WEEKLY AVERAGES 
(According to in-home viewing figures from Nielsen Media Research for the week of February 16-20. Ratings reflect "live plus same day" data unless otherwise noted. Season-to-date figures are averages of "live plus seven day" data except for the two most recent weeks, which are "live plus same day.") 

ADULTS 18-49 

11:35 p.m. ET 
NBC "Tonight," 1.5 rating, 6 share 
CBS "Late Show," 1.0/4 
ABC "Nightline," 1.1/4 

12:05 a.m. ET 
ABC "Kimmel," 0.6/3* 

12:35 a.m. ET 
NBC "Late Night," 1.0/6 
CBS "Late Late Show," 0.5/3 

1:35 a.m. ET 
NBC "Last Call," 0.5/4* 

TOTAL VIEWERS 

11:35 p.m. ET 
NBC "Tonight," 5.2 million viewers 
CBS "Late Show," 3.7 million viewers 
ABC "Nightline," 3.8 million viewers 

12:05 a.m. ET 
ABC "Kimmel," 1.7 million viewers* 

12:35 a.m. ET 
NBC "Late Night," 2.4 million viewers 
CBS "Late Late Show," 1.9 million viewers 

1:35 a.m. ET 
NBC "Last Call," 1.3 million viewers* 

* Monday's "Last Call" and "Kimmel" were encores. 

SEASON TO DATE 

ADULTS 18-49 

11:35 p.m. ET 
NBC "Tonight," 1.4/5 
CBS "Late Show," 1.1/5 
ABC "Nightline," 1.1/4 

12:05 a.m. ET 
ABC "Kimmel," 0.6/3 

12:35 a.m. ET 
NBC "Late Night," 0.8/4 
CBS "Late Late Show," 0.6/3 

1:35 a.m. ET 
NBC "Last Call," 0.5/3 

TOTAL VIEWERS 

11:35 p.m. ET 
NBC "Tonight," 5.1 million viewers 
CBS "Late Show," 3.9 million viewers 
ABC "Nightline," 3.9 million viewers 

12:05 a.m. ET 
ABC "Kimmel," 1.7 million viewers 

12:35 a.m. ET 
NBC "Late Night," 2.0 million viewers 
CBS "Late Late Show," 1.9 million viewers 

1:35 a.m. ET 
NBC "Last Call," 1.2 million viewers 

SELECTED CABLE RESULTS, WEEK OF FEBRUARY 16-20 

NATIONAL ADULT 18-49 RATING 

Comedy Central, 11 p.m. ET, "The Daily Show," 0.5 
Comedy Central, 11:30 p.m. ET, "The Colbert Report," 0.5 

Adult Swim, 11:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. ET, 0.8 
Adult Swim, 12:30-1:30 a.m. ET, 0.4 

Each adult 18-49 rating point equals 1.32 million viewers 

TOTAL VIEWERS 

Comedy Central, 11 p.m. ET, "The Daily Show," 1.2 million 
Comedy Central, 11:30 p.m. ET, "The Colbert Report," 0.9 million 

Adult Swim, 11:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. ET, 1.9 million 
Adult Swim, 12:30-1:30 a.m. ET, 1.0 million

 
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