- Jay Leno's return to The Tonight Show hasn't meant a return to his old ratings supremacy. In fact, he's been getting a lower rating than O'Brien did in the key 18-49 demographic.
- During the last week in October, for the first time since Leno's return, The Late Show with David Letterman beat The Tonight Show in both adults 18-49 and adults 25-54. (Note: there were no extortion scandals in the mix to help Letterman's ratings out.)
- During four recent weeks, ABC's Nightline was the most-viewed program in its time slot.
- And, drumroll, please ... discounting a week in October when they were all in reruns, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart beat both Letterman and Leno in 18-49 for the month of October.
What happens from here? We could see the first instance in which, at least in 18-49, there are several programs which routinely beat their network counterparts. The Daily Show, and its counterpart, The Colbert Report, are both on a post-election, post-rally roll, and Conan will no doubt siphon some viewers away from Letterman and Leno because it will be more attuned to a younger demographic.
Of course, the focus that advertisers and networks have on 18-49 -- at the expense of other demos which actually watch shows and buy stuff -- is a bit specious. Nonetheless, should we find that six months from now, due to O'Brien, Stewart and Colbert, cable is dominating broadcast in that demo once the clock strikes 11 p.m., it will be a milestone anyway.
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