Week One of the new season saw the “Late Show with David Letterman” on CBS top the “Tonight Show” on NBC in total viewers, adults 18-49 and adults 25-54 for the first time since 2005 – and CBS is proclaiming that victory loud and clear. Letterman also tied Tonight, now hosted by Conan O’Brien, in adult 18-34, according to Nielsen (Live + SD) ratings for the premiere week of the TV season.
Letterman posted a 3.5/09 in households with an average of 5.04 million viewers, up 25% in households (from 2.8/07) and up 28% in viewers (from 3.94 million) compared to premiere week last year. The CBS Late Show was up 7% in adults 25-54 (1.6/07 from 1.5/06), +18% in adults 18-49 (1.3/05 from 1.1/05) and even in adults 18-34 (0.8/04) compared to premiere week last year.
CBS dug through the records to show just how big of a deal this is. “This is Late Show’s best premiere week delivery in households since 2004, in viewers since 2001, in both adults 25-54 and adults 18-49 since 2006,” the network said.
But wait, there’s more!
“Late Show posted its largest margin of victory over ‘The Tonight Show’ (excluding Wimbledon weeks) in households since the week ending September 12, 1994, in viewers since the week ending February 24, 1994 (during the Olympics), in both adults 25-54 and adults 18-49 since the week ending Feb. 25, 2000 (when David Letterman returned from heart surgery),” CBS noted.
For last week, Letterman beat O’Brien in 18-49 on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and tied for first on Tuesday.