All eyes were on Conan O’Brien Monday night — and that’s not a figurative statement. TBS‘ debut of Conan defeated both his Tonight Show rival Jay Leno and fellow Leno roadkill, Late Show‘s David Letterman.
Conan’s premiere pulled in 4.2 million viewers, with 3.3 million in the 18-49 demographic. Leno managed 3.5 million, with less than 1 million in the key demographic — a very telling statement about who his show appeals to. Letterman did close to Leno’s numbers, with 3.4 million viewers, and a marginally better 1.3 million in the key demographic.
It’s typical for the premiere of any new show to bring in more viewers than the series will be able to hold onto in the long run, and Conan also benefited from all of the drama surrounding Lenogate, with more than a few people (such as myself) tuning in just to see what O’Brien would say about the fiasco in hindsight. Just how much those ratings dip as the season unfolds is the real question.
Still, the sense of revenge over at Team Coco must be sweet. O’Brien tweeted on Tuesday, “It feels great to be back. To all my fans: Thank you. You are the reason this happened.”