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Monday, July 6, 2009

Conan Loses Leno's Older Audience

The 6th of JULY, 2009

From The Huffington Post
By Bill Carter /The New York Times


‘Tonight Show’ Audience a Decade Younger

One of the big questions facing Conan O’Brien was this: How can he succeed with the older “Tonight Show” viewers? The answer: by making them younger.

In Mr. O’Brien’s first month as host, the median age of “Tonight Show” viewers has fallen by a decade — to 45 from 55, a startling shift in such a short time. This audience composition means advertisers can now address almost exclusively young viewers on “Tonight,” and NBC is already contemplating a shift in how it sells the show.

In network television, where audiences tend to age up consistently, this is an eye-popping development. But the shift is not all good news for NBC. One way Mr. O’Brien has lowered the age is by losing many older viewers.

“The Late Show With David Letterman” has already posted one week in which it drew more viewers than Mr. O’Brien, who reached the smallest audience in “Tonight” show history, just 3.3 million viewers, about two million fewer than Jay Leno’s average as host.

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