"There could be a new king emerging in late-night television," said David Bauder in the Associated Press. David Letterman's CBS Late Show "whipped" NBC's Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien "in the ratings last week by nearly 800,000 viewers." Letterman generally used to lose to The Tonight Show "when Jay Leno was the host, and he hasn't had this big a victory margin since returning from heart surgery in 2000."
This "continues a roll for a resurgent Letterman," said David Zurawik in The Baltimore Sun, "and a troubling downward slide for NBC's Tonight Show since Conan O'Brien took over from Jay Leno." But to be fair, Letterman did have former Beatle Paul McCartney on his show Wednesday (watch), which hauled in an astounding "4.4 million viewers." And Conan is still pulling in more young viewers, which is what advertisers are primarily interested in.
Still, it even "seems like O'Brien's supposed fortress of support within Gen X and Gen Y circles" is "eroding with every passing week," said Mark Graham in New York magazine. But we won't really know how all of this will shake out until "Jay Leno comes back into the NBC fray in mid-September" at the 10 p.m. slot, and "we don't anticipate anyone over at NBC hitting the panic switch and making any rash moves until the end of the year."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- How Scotland's independence movement lost the vote and still won everything
- How our botched understanding of 'science' ruins everything
- Mike Huckabee's head-scratching advice to Christian voters
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Adrian Peterson and our misguided debate about spanking
- The American middle class is no longer safe from poverty — and that might be a good thing
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- 6 super-helpful iOS8 tricks you probably don't know about
- 10 things you need to know today: September 19, 2014
Subscribe to the Week