Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Friday, January 18, 2021

stricken second
Can’t say I’m surprised by this: Late-night talkshow ratings are the same as they ever were, with Jay Leno beating out Dave Letterman regardless of the lack of union writers on “Tonight Show”.

Leno has a 27 percent advantage over Letterman, compared to 33 percent prior to the writers going on strike.

Leno’s victory margin of nearly 1 million viewers comes despite Letterman actually winning last Monday, when Tom Hanks visited to watch Letterman shave the beard he grew during two months off the air.

This still qualifies as the early going. In the longer run, if A-listers stay away from Leno and go to Letterman’s show, the gap could close further. But barring a blockbuster booking by “Late Night” — i.e., some celebrity scandal hits and Letterman has that celeb on the show only days later — viewers are going to stick with who they know and like. The writing is invisible as far as the audience is concerned, while the hosts themselves are the mainstays.

And not to say that I told you so — but I did:

But ultimately, audiences have their preferred hosts, and I have a feeling the eyeballs will stick with their usual favorites. As long as the episodes are new, I doubt many viewers will switch.

From that, I’m thinking the studios will use the resultant ratings as ammo against the next round of talks with the writers. The argument will be that the scripting doesn’t have much impact on drawing audiences, and so they’ll be even less inclined to compromise with the Guild.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 01/18/2008 06:17:48 PM
Category: Business, TV
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