'Conan': Early ratings put O'Brien ahead of Leno [Updated]

conan-tbs-premiere2-320.jpg (Updates throughout from the earlier post.)

And all across the Coco Nation, there was much rejoicing, because for one night at least, their hero had vanquished the dread Peacock.

TBS says the "Conan" premiere drew 4.15 million viewers Monday night (Nov. 8), which will likely put the show ahead of "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" (NBC hasn't released viewer numbers yet; see the metered-market comparison below). The premiere also scored a 2.5 rating among adults 18-49, better than a number of shows that aired in network primetime (including all of NBC's lineup).

"Conan's audience has been very vocal online, and he clearly made a smooth transition from Twitter to TBS," Turner Entertainment Networks president Steve Koonin says. "'Conan' delivered an extraordinary audience and stands out as the youngest late-night talk show on television."

TBS says the median age of people watching the "Conan" premiere was 30; more than half the audience fell in the adults 18-34 demographic.

By comparison, "The Tonight Show" averaged 3.6 million viewers for the week of Oct. 25-29 (the last week for which full ratings are available), and "The Late Show with David Letterman" drew 3.8 million people to CBS. The premiere of "Lopez Tonight" on TBS a year ago -- which was hyped just slightly less than that of "Conan" -- delivered 1.7 million viewers and averaged 1.6 million for its first week.

Preliminary ratings for the premiere of "Conan" on TBS Monday night (Nov. 8) have the show beating NBC's "Tonight Show with Jay Leno" -- and we're guessing that many toasts about that are being made on the Warner Bros. lot where "Conan" tapes.

Ratings from Nielsen's 56 metered markets have "Conan" at a 2.8 household rating, while "Tonight" came in at 2.7. ("The Late Show with David Letterman" scored a 2.5 in the metered markets; numbers for "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report" weren't available.)

Will those numbers hold? Probably not for the long term. Curiosity about "Conan's" debut will likely dip in the coming days and weeks, and "The Tonight Show" pretty regularly draws the ratings it did on Monday night. Still, TBS is plenty happy with "Conan's" premiere ratings -- and Team Coco has to be too.

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Photo credit: TBS