Leno is already struggling

by Paul William Tenny

Conan O'Brien tour posterI recorded the last Tonight Show hosted by Conan O'Brien and the first episode where Jay Leno returned to his former gig. I've watched neither as they sit on my DVR collecting digital dust, which really says a lot about just how much I actually care about this mess. Don't get me wrong, I think this is just another in a long line of poor decisions that should have resulted in a management shakeup at NBC, and clearly Conan O'Brien got royally screwed. But it's still just more TV drama.

Regardless, I've kept my nose in it just enough to notice a few days ago that Leno is already losing to Letterman in the demo and is within striking distance overall.

And it hasn't even been two weeks yet.

The Late Show: 4.2 million viewers, 1.3 demo.

The Tonight Show: 4.4/1.1

Conan meanwhile is going on some sort of national tour (stand up?) spanning 30 cities in advance of what I'm sure will eventually be a late night program on Fox. It's a bit of a gamble. If the tour does well then it could give Fox affiliates the reassurances they need to agree to try out a late night show hosted by O'Brien. If he fails, it's going to be ugly for the rest of the tour and he can kiss the Fox opportunity good bye.

Tickets can be had here.

in Television


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