Never mind that Jay Leno and David Letterman’s shows start 35 minutes after Conan O’Brien’s new show, and never mind that TBS will be happy with Conan regardless of his ratings, and never mind that a new show’s much-hyped debut is bound to perform well against those in mid-season form, because I’ve got oversimplified eye-catching headlines to write: OMG CONAN BEAT LENO AND LETTERMAN IN THE RATINGS!!!1!!
Conan drew a 2.8 rating. Tonight a 2.7. Late Show with David Letterman a 2.5. Late Night with Jimmy Fallon a 1.2. Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson a 1.4.
These are shaky local market household ratings, but they do suggest good news for O’Brien. Households tend to indicate how the race among total viewers — Leno’s strong suit — will turn out. But 18-49 — which tends to be O’Brien’s strength — is the more important demo. If O’Brien’s total viewer number is on par with with Leno’s, he stands a fair chance of beating Tonight among young adults. [THR]
The lesson, as always, is IGNORE THE DETAILS AND PAY ATTENTION TO ALL CAPS! Context is for pussies.
Anyway, if you missed last night’s show, I’ve got the delightful cold open embedded below, and you can read a detailed and measured recap at The A.V. Club. Cliffs Notes version: nothing groundbreaking, but an enjoyable and high-energy show. That’s good enough for me, but I’m sure someone out there will be happy to piss in my coffee. “He didn’t even, like, transcend the genre, man.”