The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien: Respectable Premiere Ratings; Cancel or Keep Conan?

The Tonight Show with Conan O'BrienLast 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?

In case you missed it, here’s another chance…

100 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. Steven says

    It’s sad that quite a few people on here resort to calling the people who enjoy Conan “idiots”, and “stoners”. I enjoy Conan O’Brien, most people who watched Jay Leno aren’t ready for Conan’s style of humor. Evidently Jay though Conan was the right fit because Jay’s last guest on the Tonight show? Conan, Johnny Carson didn’t invite Jay on his show when Jay was supposed to take over.

    Now, I’m sure most of the parents of the people who say “Carson and Leno rock!!!” and “O’Brien sucks because I’m an ornery person who doesn’t like change” thought that Carson was a terrible replacement compared to Steve Allen, and Jack Parr.

  2. David says

    What a completely juvenile self-centered bore! all of the whooping and laughter is so horribly false and certainly not deserved. What a shame that this show has degenerated into such drivel.

  3. says

    I loved Late Night and I love this just like I loved Late Night. Twitter Tracker’s awesome, it reminds me of Late Night Sausage Party :DD

    About this show.. I can’t really compare TS with Jay Leno and TS with Conan O’Brien, because I only saw one episode of Jay Leno – the channel wasn’t free. And even if I’ve seen some youtube-clips, I don’t think it would be fair, because I’ve loved Conan since I was 11 😀

  4. Alan says

    The Tonight show has died. This guy is the worse thing. Poor jokes, sad delivery and the side kick is sad with a screaching voice. I’m finding myself shutting off the tv and reading a book. And from the little I watched the show the has twisted to left/liberal.
    Wont last long, hopefully.

  5. Joseph says

    Hi, well I dont find him humorous nor funny. He has big shoes to fill and dont think he can match the bill. That is just my opinion!

  6. conan o'brien rocks says

    Conan’s a really funny guy and will do great as a Tonight Show host if people just give him some time. I didn’t think so many people hated him. Around here, everybody who watches the Tonight Show loves him.

  7. gcdubu says

    Just checking in again after a couple of weeks and I see nothing has changed–overwhelmingly WE want Conan GONE!!!! I don’t even visit NBC anymore after the news, which is sad since I watch the late news on my city’s NBC affiliate. I make a mad scramble to get the channel changed before that idiot and his weird music invade my space!

  8. watcher13 says

    You have to remember that Conan’s supposedly “fresh and new” comedy was simply an imitation of Dave which is why Conan was originally put in the Late Night spot. Why would people watch the pupil when they can watch the master? The problem has been that as Dave ages he loses more of the college crowd who unfairly won’t give him a chance because he looks like their grandfather. In this, Conan has been lucky because he looks about 10 years younger than he actually is. NBC has basically admitted that it’s going to stay with Conan if he can keep the youth audience – the preferred advertiser’s demographic. The problem with experimental comedy is that a large part of the experiment’s fail. Conan has always been hit or miss. One bit works, the next falls flatter than a pancake, and he has a bad habit of letting these failed bits go on and on. The Masturbating bear? Jay’s going to steal away all the mainstream audience and all the audience that wants their monologue earlier in the night. The best thing that can happen to Conan is for Dave to retire. Conan’s may end up hanging be a thread. He barely beat Craig Ferguson in the late night timeslot and Ferguson is really the more edgy comic. A few drunken frat boys do not Tonight Show success make.

  9. Anonymous says

    dude. give the guy some air to breathe.
    didn’t think so many people dislike him.

    i find him funny.

  10. Anonymous says

    Get rid of him. This man does have the class of Johnny nor Jay. We have enough trash on TV as it is. Get rid of him.

  11. says

    I didn’t like Conan at 12:35. I really dislike him when Jay should be there instead. Jay has been doing stand up longer than conan had his own late show. Jay was much more personable. Wanted the audience to partipate, and the people at home to end there day relaxed and laughing there butts off after a day of work. I hate Conan’s hair, and voice, he has to go! Oh he is a terrible interviewer as well.

  12. csaba says

    When Jay Leno was new in the tonight show 17 years ago, everybody hated him saying : johnny carson was the best, Jay not funny….2-3 years everybody love Jay . Now Conan is the best in tv , a real funny man … must give him couple of months.

  13. Itold youso says

    Let’s call a spade a spade. Conan is an idiot. The brass at NBC that thought having Conan host the Tonight Show should be pounding pavement looking for jobs. I told NBC about a year ago they were nuts when it was announced that Conan would be taking over for Leno. Did they listen? Nope. No wonder NBC is having a ratings problem. Maybe there is some fresh, young blood making decisions about things they know nothing about. A college degree does not mean you will make wise decisions.

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