Though Jay Leno and The Tonight Show won the late night wars in Leno’s second week back, compared to the same week last year the victory was much narrower.
One problem in using any season-to-date average for Leno this year is deceptive since we only have two weeks of data. But to compare weekly data for the same week this year (March 8-12, 2010) to the same week last year (March 9-13, 2009):
Last year Leno led Letterman by more than a million and a half viewers, 5.39m to 3.75m. This year Letterman was about the same, 3.76, but Leno shed nearly a million viewers, down to 4.41m.
Last year : Leno = 1.5, Letterman = 1.0. This year, again, Letterman was about the same as last year with a 1.0 rating, but Leno was down to a 1.2 rating.
Letterman's Audience Is A Little Bit (But Just a Little Bit) Younger
NBC touted median age a lot when Conan was hosting, and relatively speaking Conan skewed young with a 46.2 median age. Last week at 54.4, the median age for Late Night was younger than the 55.9 median age for The Tonight Show.
Comparisons to Last Year for the Current Week Will Look Even Worse for Leno
Note, the comparisons to the same week last year will look even worse for Leno next week when we see the numbers for the current week next Thursday. That’s because in the comparable week last year, President Obama appeared with Leno on The Tonight Show and it had its biggest audience in nearly 11 years.