The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien: Respectable Premiere Ratings; Cancel or Keep Conan?
Published: June 2, 2009
Last night, Conan O’Brien began his reign as the host of The Tonight Show. As the NBC promos have reminded us, the red-haired comedian is only the fifth person to hold the position and he’s got some pretty big shoes to fill.
For the first episode of The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien, the host seemed very much at ease. Of course, hosting Tonight isn’t a far cry from his previous job. Though he’s moved to the West Coast, much about the new show seemed the same. That may help or hurt him since his old show’s ratings haven’t been as solid as Tonight’s have been.
In terms of number for last night’s show, O’Brien’s debut performed well but it wasn’t extraordinary. It was the highest rated episode of Tonight since January 24, 2005. That was a tribute to Johnny Carson who’d died the day before.
Compared to the usual ratings for Tonight, MediaWeek reports that O’Brien’s first episode attracted 82% more viewers in the overnights than the second quarter average, a 7.1 rating. That’s 154% higher than last night’s Late Show with David Letterman and a much bigger win over Nightline and Jimmy Kimmel Live.
Of course, it’s difficult to judge the show on just one outing. As history has shown, hosting the Tonight Show is much more like a long marathon than a quick sprint. It’ll be interesting to see if O’Brien can sustain the ratings dominance of his predecessor.
What do you think? Did you watch and will you tune in again? Is O’Brien right for the job?