Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Friday, January 22, 2021

It’s the end of an era — or the end of an error, depending on your outlook. “The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien” breathes its last breath tonight, bringing a close to a messy divorce between O’Brien and NBC over the network’s late-night talent shuffle.

The final show is definitely a must-see. I don’t know if we’ll see a Jack Paar-level of kiss-off from Conan, but a sendoff is a sendoff, regardless of the parting shots.

And with Conan out of the way, the battle between Letterman and Leno resumes. I’m curious to see if Leno’s audience is as portable as it’s been to date: Keep in mind that that 5-million viewership for “The Jay Leno Show” matched what he pulled in nightly when he was on “Tonight”. It’s not the same exact crowd watching him at 10:00 as at 11:30, but the bulk of it probably is. Does that mean Leno slides right back into the lead versus Letterman and CBS? Or has this episode damaged Leno’s appeal, as many critics speculate?

I’d bet that Leno will be back on top in short order. Ultimately, the audience doesn’t care about the off-camera machinations. Plus, Letterman’s been reluctant to make any necessary changes to his show, regardless of the competition — he won versus Conan through little action of his own. A sort of sick entropy will take hold over late-night, once again…

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 01/22/2010 06:25 PM
Category: Business, Celebrity, TV
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