Skip to comments.WHAT'S NBC's ZUCKER GONNA DO: Letterman Tops Conan O'Brien In Ratings--Leno As Adman?
Posted on 06/10/2009 11:02:26 AM PDT by lewisglad
Julia Roberts as a guest finally put David Letterman over the top in late night Tuesday night in the early Nielsen overnights following Howard Stern Monday night. They bested Conan and his guests of David Duchovny Monday night and Eddie Murphy on Tuesday night. And Eddie rarely does talk shows anymore so that was considered a guest "get" even if his movies bomb at the box office. True, Julia can't open a movie anymore either, but she turned the tables on Dave last night and started interviewing him about his recent marriage, which Howard did as well. ):
June 9th David Letterman 3.4 Conan O'Brien 2.9
June 8th David Letterman 3.0 Conan O'Brien 3.1
This follows the plunging of Conan's Tonight Show ratings from a debut high of 7.0 on June 1st (vs 2.8 for Dave's Late Show), to 5.0 on June 2nd (vs 3.0), 4.2 on June 3rd (vs 2.8), 3.8 on June 4th (vs 3.2), to 3.5 on June 4th (vs 2.7). Of course, helping Dave was the fact that, just last week, CBS has every one of the Nielsen Top 10 shows in network primetime in this period known as the summer repeat doldrums. And NBC's primetime schedule is, as usual, tanking. So no help there for Conan. It's the nightmare scenario for GE/NBC Universal that everyone but boss Jeff Zucker thought would happen: the network's cash cow The Tonight Show, once safely No. 1 in the ratings with Jay Leno as host, now can only hope to seesaw in the ratings with Letterman's Late Show. And it's all Zucker's fault.
There's more bad news: Advertising Age reported Monday that while "NBC is touting Jay Leno's new primentime program as an innovative, DVR-proof move, buyers say the new talk show will draw fewer viewers than ABC and CBS on any given night, and are balking at paying primetime prices for what they view ads late-night ratings. 'He will guarantee NBC a third-place finish [behind ABC and CBS] in whatever hour he's in,' said Shari Ann Brill, senior VP-director of strategic audience analysis for Aegis gGroup's Carat. 'He will do on par with what he did in late night.' "
Sure, Zucker and his minions keep repeating the mantra that it doesn't matter if Leno's new show gets whipped in the ratings by scripted dramas because "we're managing for margins, not ratings" because the programming not only will be cheaper to produce but also fresher throughout the year when other networks have to go into repeats. That argument isn't cutting it with Madison Avenue. So what is Ben Silverman's supposedly "creative" solution to appease advertisers who don't want to pay primetime rates for late night ratings? He recently told Ad Age "the network would consider offering the opportunity to have Mr. Leno do live commercials, which he suggested would potentially be worth a price increase."
Uh, did anyone at NBC even bother to tell Leno he may become a 10PM pitchman? A throwback holding up cans of Campbell Chunky Soup and bags of Purina Dog Chow while telling viewers how much he likes the products? How humiliating for Jay. He should have taken up ABC on that offer to compete with both Dave and Conan...
But back to Conan. You'd think that NBC would be in a flopsweat over O'Brien's ratings slide during his first and second week as host of The Tonight Show. You'd think that, but you'd be wrong. Now, most network suits would be spending every minute of every hour of every day brainstorming how to make the show more popular. But this is NBC where, when the going gets rough, the executives go golfing. That's right, Conan's longtime executive producer Jeff Ross is getting his money's worth out of his spankin' new membership at Riviera Country Club because he was on the golf course not only two weekends in a row -- but both Saturday and Sunday last weekend even after Conan's ratings began to fall.
One thing is certain: gone is Conan's all-too-brief honeymoon period with the press. Not even NBCU's PR War Room set up by Zucker is going to be able to spin this disaster. Because, while Conan's debut was the highest-rated Monday episode of the veteran franchise in four years, June 5th's was the lowest rated Friday episode in 6 months.
They been pushing Conan hard too
This means that the chance of CBS publicly condemning what Letterman said about Palin and her children is now officially ZERO. Letterman will probably get a bonus.
Don’t watch any of them. And Julia Roberts is trying to resurrect a stalled career. So who the heck cares about the H’weirdo types.
You have to give this sort of thing a full year before drawing any conclusions. Leno as I recall lost early to Letterman...then dominated the ratings war between them for the next...14 years?
Letterman is using Palin to climb the ratings totem pole, disgusting.
correct, Leno started winning after he put the audience closer and made it more of a ‘comedy club’ format which is his strong point.
NEVER use Letterman and climbing a pole in the same sentence, please!!
Julia Roberts hasn’t opened a big picture in years!
Letterman and O’Brien are both trashy A—holes!
The key for Conan, is Andy Richter, if they can recapture what they had on the old Late Night with Conan show, then I think it will eventually overtake Letterman.
Andy was hilarious, I say put him back on the couch like Ed McMahon.
Women don’t like him because he’s creepy looking and has NO sexuality. Young guys are his target audience and the ones who like him are already watching. NBC continues to screw the pooch.
You think Conan’s ratings are bad now? Wait until Leno’s new show debuts.
Letterman is scum.
there’s rumours that Jay will have to defer to Conan on the best guests (because of the NBC contract restrictions)
This leaves him with some percentage of the late night crowd who have watched him for the last few years and will follow him earlier to the Tonight Show. But it won't be 100%, and that's a (relatively) small number of viewers.
I’d say ‘the key’ is getting the opening monologue ‘right’. Thats always been THE STAPLE, the ‘connection’ between the four previous hosts from Parr forward.
Once Leno ‘got it’ he destroyed Letterman for well over a decade.
Leno is the only one who does funny monologues, but who watches any of these guys after the first 5 minutes?
I'd rather watch Vince from ShamWow.
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