This WSJ article is the first I’ve heard that suggests Conan O’Brien is struggling in his 11 p.m. late night slot and that TBS is worried.
In the nine months since “Conan”‘s debut, TBS has canceled its only other late-night show, George Lopez’s “Lopez Tonight,” and viewership of “Conan” has tumbled, by about 60% since its high-profile debut last fall.
Despite Mr. O’Brien’s shrinking audience, TBS is doubling down on the red-haired comedian, paying for costly programming in an attempt to protect its investment.
The audience for “Conan,” has fallen from about 2.4 million in the show’s first month on air in 2010 to roughly 958,000 people this past July, according to Nielsen Co. data.
Mr. O’Brien trails all major competitors on broadcast and cable during his 11 p.m. time slot. In certain weeks, he’s also fallen behind newer faces such as Chelsea Handler.
In July, Mr. O’Brien averaged about 685,000 viewers between the ages of 18 and 49, placing him behind cable competitors such as Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart as well as broadcast rivals Jimmy Fallon, David Letterman and Jay Leno.
Compared to his major competitors, Mr. O’Brien is only ahead of ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel and CBS’s Craig Ferguson, who begin their broadcasts at midnight and 12:35 a.m.
Interesting. He would’ve been better off signing with Comedy Central and having Stewart/Colbert as the lead-in in the hour before his show.