In the four weeks that Jay Leno'soverlapped with 's on a calendar week basis (2010 vs. 2009) he's finished behind . However, that was during the "premiere" phase for . It was the fifth week of 's run in the summer of 2009 when he settled near his "hubbub free" ratings level of between a 1.0 and 1.1 adults 18-49 .
If Jay can hold at the 1.0 adults 18-49 rating he scored last week (June 21-25), he'd tie Conan's ratings for much of the summer. Stay tuned.
The folks dwelling on Leno beating Letterman (which he did again last week) miss the point that beating the competition is important only in press releases (and to sites like ours that focus on the horserace) not to the network's business. What matters to NBC are a show's absolute ratings (and their trend) which correlate to its advertising potential. NBC's ad revenue is based on the's ratings, not whether it beat the or not.
CBS, of course, cares about Letterman's
The first chart aligns the ratings weeks for the shows to their calendar weeks.
The second chart shows the Leno/Conan ratings in the same sequential week of their run. Since, the first chart now has 4 weeks of calendar week overlap, this is likely the last week I will create the sequential week chart which was only interesting to me prior to the calendar overlap.
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 thewas in repeats prior to the Winter Olympics.