Leno Matches Conan’s Tonight Show Ratings Trend, Beats Letterman Again

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Jay Leno’s Tonight Show drew a 1.1 adults 18-49 rating last week (May 3-7), the same rating as Conan O’Brien’s Tonight Show in the tenth week of each show’s run. There has been little difference between the two show’s ratings trends since week 5 of their run’s.

I need to try and figure out how to convey this well in the chart, but readers should note that 10 weeks into “Conan (2009-10)” was the first week of August, 2009, the absolute nadir of the broadcast TV year, but 10 weeks into “Leno (2010-)”, is still during the main broadcast season.

David Letterman’s Late Show moved up a tenth of a point in the adults 18-49 ratings vs. the previous week, but was again beaten by the Tonight Show as it has been each week since Jay returned.


Conan/Letterman (2009-10) week 1 ended 6/5/09. Leno/Letterman (2010-) week 1 ended 3/5/10.

The Conan/Letterman(2009-10) ratings do not include the final week the Tonight Show was in repeats prior to the Winter Olympics.

For historical reference, here are last season’s season-to-date averages through May 8, 2009:

ADULTS 18-49
11:35 p.m. ET
NBC “Tonight,” 1.4/6
CBS “Late Show,” 1.1/4
ABC “Nightline,” 1.1/4


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