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Ahead Of LENO!!

I am – Hercules!!

Davd Letterman and Jay Leno have been quietly battling to ties in the key adults 18-49  demo since the start of the new TV season -- but things have suddenly gotten less quiet now that Dave has somhow managed to top Jay for the first week of October in both the 18-49 and 18-34 demos.

In old-people news, NBC’s “The Tonight Show” still outdrew CBS’ “The Late Show” in total viewers for the same week.

Late night Oct. 1-7 averages (adults 18-49):
2.7 Saturday Night Live
0.9 Late Show With David Letterman
0.9 Nightline
0.8 Tonight Show With Jay Leno
0.7 Daily Show With Jon Stewart
0.5 Jimmy Kimmel Live
0.5 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon
0.5 Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson
0.5 The Colbert Report
0.3 Last Call With Carson Daly

To give Leno his minimum due, his 10 p.m. lead-ins that week were “The Playboy Club,” “Parenthood,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “Prime Suspect” and “Dateline.”

CBS’s 10 p.m. weeknight hour features more popular shows, namely “Hawaii Five-0,” “Unforgettable,” “CSI,” “The Mentalist” and “Blue Bloods.”

Then again, CBS' 10 p.m. slate has been stronger than NBC's for many seasons now. Maybe CBS affiliates just hired a bunch of better looking local news anchors?  Or maybe Leno has already reasserted his dominance for the second week of October just completed?

Stay tuned.

And find The Hollywood Reporter’s story on the matter here.

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Readers Talkback
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  • Oct. 15, 2011, 3:22 a.m. CST

    I guess Leno wasn't the future after all

    by Creative1

  • Oct. 15, 2011, 3:27 a.m. CST


    by Gap Toothed TV Boy

    The average age for Leno's viewership is "dead".

  • Oct. 15, 2011, 3:30 a.m. CST

    Leno IS the future of television. Seriously.

    by Xen11

    Leno represents the asshole that cancels the best shows on television. Terminator The Sarah Connor Chronicles - cancelled in its second season by some asshole You can insert any great series you like, it was cancelled by some suit who was a thieving, conniving, backstabbing little asshole.

  • Oct. 15, 2011, 3:36 a.m. CST

    Ah, the old Giant Douche vs. Turd Sandwich debate.

    by Doctor_Strangepork

    Letterman has fallen a long way since the days of monkey-cams.

  • Oct. 15, 2011, 3:38 a.m. CST

    and this surprises who?

    by yeah i'm a jerk!

    Leno can go fuck himself! The least funny human being on the planet!

  • Oct. 15, 2011, 3:51 a.m. CST

    6 people watched Leno, 7 people watched Letterman

    by Mel

  • Oct. 15, 2011, 4:13 a.m. CST

    jay leno is a racist...

    by emeraldboy

    and I dont watch his show really anymore.

  • Oct. 15, 2011, 4:41 a.m. CST

    I caught Dave for the first time in a long while last week...

    by Chewtoy

    He was in surprisingly good form. Seemed energized, sparred hilariously with Bill O'Reilly. If he's been on like that every night recently, it's no wonder. I notice poor Conan didn't make the listing there, despite other cable entries. Are his ratings nowhere near these numbers now? Opening against the Daily Show has got to be murder.

  • I just enjoy showing the other side of the news that Herc ignores since it doesn't fit his agenda.

  • Oct. 15, 2011, 5:58 a.m. CST


    by Hercules

    you might want to have a gander at my second paragraph.

  • Oct. 15, 2011, 6:11 a.m. CST


    by hulkdog

    Can you work in their numbers too?

  • Oct. 15, 2011, 7 a.m. CST

    HA HA flandersbum got TOLD!

    by JethroBodine

    Everybody point at flandersbum and laugh! HAHAHAHAHA!

  • It proves you are not an intelligent or funny person. Leno is a conniving snake masked in his douchey, nice guy persona. If only the guy had just retired when he was told to, went ot the Discovery channel and got a show about his cars, no one would despise him so much. Seriously, I could not imagine the deranged mind that sits nightly watching this hack and actually thinking his schick is funny...THAT shit scares me.

  • Oct. 15, 2011, 7:29 a.m. CST

    I have not watched Dave in year, but for his NBC years alone...

    by ZodNotGod

    He gets a lifetime pass. Conan too. FUCK the Daily Show.

  • Oct. 15, 2011, 7:33 a.m. CST


    by Nerfee

    I miss Sarah Conner, too. It was shafted just when it was getting really interesting. Shirly Manson as a borg-queen Terminator, FFS!

  • Oct. 15, 2011, 9:02 a.m. CST

    I guess

    by Franklancer

    using your entire female staff as disposable fuck toys helps your ratings in the long run...

  • Oct. 15, 2011, 9:05 a.m. CST

    Still more people watch LENO.....Conan who?

    by j2talk

    so what happened to all of Conan's "SUPPORTERS" you remember them- the ones who FAILED to watch him on the Tonight Show"-and got all riled up when NBC returned Leno to the show and sent him packing? Give me Johnny least Craig Ferguson puts on a show worth watching.....

  • Oct. 15, 2011, 10:52 a.m. CST

    Someone other than Ferguson does late night?

    by gotilk

    ....the HELL?

  • Oct. 15, 2011, 11:29 a.m. CST

    They're both mostly unfunny

    by fuzzy_dunlop

    Ive never laughed at Jay's monologue (stopped watching 5 years ago or so consequentially, so I have no point of reference since then), but he is quick and sometimes clever with his guests. Letterman is only slightly better, but the 'zaniness' falls flat usually. Team Coco. Fuck Leno. Letterman FTW. (I really only watch Jon Stewart.)

  • Oct. 15, 2011, 11:46 a.m. CST

    Another shout out to team CraigyFerg

    by thelordofhell

    He's easily the most watchable late night host around now. It's like someone gave a talk show to your funny Scottish Uncle.

  • Oct. 15, 2011, 11:52 a.m. CST


    by richievanderlow

    Despite how homogenized he had become in the 11:30 timeslot, his brand of humor is so much funnier than Jay's. I've always thought his show was much better overall. He's certainly the superior interviewer. I've long wondered if Letterman's overt take on politics in his jokes and when he speaks to guests has had an effect on his viewership, but I can't imagine those that might be offended watch his show anyway. I haven't watched Leno in a long time, so perhaps he's the same way.. I don't really know. I just think Letterman has gotten much more outward with his liberal leanings. I'm not taking a side on that, but even I've grown tired of how obviously benign his jokes toward liberals are compared to conservatives. But that pales to how he talks to guests. It's obvious how condescending he is toward a Bill O'Reilly or John McCain on his show (without being rude, of course), vs. a Keith Olbermann or Bill Clinton. Ultimately, I just wish he took better advantage of the comedic material from liberals and go for the jugular like he seems to on his conservative targets (which is pretty damn funny by the way) like he used to. He was pretty rough on Clinton during his monologues back in the day.. or so it seemed. Ultimately, I think Letterman has always been edgier than Leno (even now) and that's a large part of why Leno has been more successful.. he's been the safer choice.

  • Oct. 15, 2011, 12:40 p.m. CST


    by richievanderlow

    Good assessment.. even though I disagree a bit. I always thought Conan was a slightly funnier version of Leno.. but I just found their voices very irritating and almost unwatchable. I think Conan did have some great writers and found a delivery that worked for him. His first show ever (after he took over for Letterman in '93) was one of the biggest trainwrecks I've ever seen. He came a loooong way, but I never liked him. Letterman's zaniness is what set him apart, and I think you either like it or you don't. I like it, but it does misfire. Jon Stewart does nothing for me, but that's mostly because I'm so tired of politics in my entertainment. Ditto on Maher. Fallon and Ferguson are both great. I don't watch them regularly, but I've DVR'd when they had a guest or musical act on I want to see. I think Ferguson has tried to be really original and it's worked beautifully for him. I'm not sure it will translate to 11:30. He's like Letterman used to be. Quirky and different, but Letterman had to tone down his show when he went to 11:30 (By today's standards, I don't think he was too out of bounds, but things were different then). I think I like Fallon better though. I think he'll be taking over for Letterman or Leno when the time comes for one of them to step aside. He's a great mainstream choice, and he's hilarious.

  • Oct. 15, 2011, 12:57 p.m. CST

    Where does Conan fit in that list?

    by FrodoFraggins

  • Oct. 15, 2011, 1:11 p.m. CST

    Conan generally .4-.5

    by Bass Ackwards

    Last weeks average wasn't reported because baseball delayed him in some markets.

  • Oct. 15, 2011, 3:52 p.m. CST


    by j2talk

    for REAL late nite entertainment

  • Oct. 15, 2011, 7:24 p.m. CST

    Leno won a long time ago.

    by cerberus

    No use in bringing this up over and over again, it only makes everyone pissed.

  • Oct. 16, 2011, 3:34 a.m. CST

    Letterman beats Leno in non-TV watching demo.

    by Flim Springfield

  • Oct. 16, 2011, 4:47 a.m. CST


    by FlandersBum

    No kidding...I was simply doing what you do. Emphasizing one point in my big headline that isn't the whole story that I wanted out there. Your headline was misleading, as usual. Exactly what Fox News/MSNBC does everyday....emphasize items that match my agenda/bias while ignoring other facts that don't. Fun, isn't it?

  • Oct. 16, 2011, 6:45 a.m. CST


    by fuzzy_dunlop

    Thanks for your response. To flesh out my 'penultimate', already-tired-of-the-argument line: I've always preferred Conan, even though I've gotten out of the routine of watching him. His timing and physical humor (albeit repetitive) set him apart, as do his writers, agreeably. Never had a problem with the voice, just the predictability. It's still funny every time, however, but I've gotten to a point where I want to be challenged. Which is why I like The Daily Show. It's not a complete source of information, clearly, but I tend to be pretty independent politically, so I find value in all of their skewering. Stewart's interviewing skills have really improved over the years as well, so I'm more likely to watch after the 3rd act. There's a reason they win an Emmy every year, and they don't seem to be trying. Both Ferguson and Fallon put smiles on my face just about the entire time I watch them, and Ferguson has made me laugh occasionally. But I find both of them extremely likeable

  • Oct. 16, 2011, 7:02 a.m. CST


    by fuzzy_dunlop

    guys that have their moments. Kimmel's Unecessary Censorship bit is one of the best, but I don't watch him. None of this is really an argument, just a furthering of my original thoughts. Thanks again for the discussion. And btw, I can't stand Maher. His self-righteous hatred of all things 'right' make him seem childish and callow, at least to me. Stewart's team go for the laughs, no matter what side they're on, although they lean 'left' mostly. And I meant the third act above, not 'after' it.

  • Oct. 16, 2011, 7:12 a.m. CST

    a combination of tv3 and bbc, itv's xfactor

    by emeraldboy

    killing off the once great late late show here in ireland. Graham Norton returns on friday. witty host, stellar line up none of which rte can afford. bar the toy show being around the corner. this once great ship is sinking. sad to see.....

  • Oct. 16, 2011, 11:38 a.m. CST


    by richievanderlow

    You seem to be much more familiar with many of these shows than I am, and would have to say your assessments are probably much more accurate than mine. I agree as well, not trying to argue or say your opinion is wrong in any way either, and I'm glad that seemed to come across in my reply to you. I think your point of view certainly makes me think that Letterman and Leno have both outlived their usefulness. I think what bothers me most about Stewart is that he seems interested in just pointing out hypocrisy from politics, and while there may be some value in that, it just doesn't interest me, as well as it's just not surprising that those who engage in politics (whether elected officials or political commentators) are hypocritical on either side. To me it seems like all he's doing is stirring the pot without committing to enter into it. Granted, I don't watch so I can't say that unequivically. The political discourse in the country sickens me. I do my best to be educated so I can vote appropriately, but I have no interest in watching people argue about stuff that no one is going to change their minds about. My point being, I'm not giving Stewart a chance because of that, but that's how he's built his program.

  • Oct. 16, 2011, 2:34 p.m. CST

    "jay leno is a racist..." Emeraldboy is a jackass.

    by SierraTangoFoxtrotUniform

    I hate Leno but I see emeraldboy is another race-whining fuckwit. I think I've seen him bitching and crying before over supposed racism. Does this mudbass even know Jay has a black bandleader?

  • Oct. 16, 2011, 4:12 p.m. CST


    by gotilk


  • Oct. 16, 2011, 6:49 p.m. CST

    Letterman still the Best

    by DavidBanner

    He's great because like Johnny Carson, he is a great BROADCASTER and comedian. He is a skilled interviewer and others like Conan, Stewart, and Fallon have looked to him to learn how to do it. Leno has never gotten better at the interview part. And his undying need to be liked kills him from ever being anything other than a formally good stand up comedian. However NBC has idiots running them and want someone that doesn't challenge anybody or anything or offer anything innovative. They want a Tonight Show host to fall asleep to. Plus Lettermen has always invited the viewer to join him in seeing the phoniness of tv. Dave is the best.

  • Oct. 16, 2011, 6:51 p.m. CST

    some love to

    by DavidBanner

    Conan, Stewart and especially Colbert. All three do THEIR thing and do it well. There is uniqueness to them. Fallon is finding it too. The only thing for Leno was he used to have a great band with Branford first and then Kevin. That's it though.

  • Oct. 16, 2011, 9:43 p.m. CST

    Leno has been winning...except for two days?

    by Chris Moody

    Where were the articles about Leno's perpetual victories over old man Letterman? Hmm. Maybe old Hercules would like to put the LATEST ratings up? From:

  • Oct. 16, 2011, 9:48 p.m. CST

    Does Hercules know the average for the entire year?

    by Chris Moody

    Herc only posts when Leno does NOT win in one demographic for a day or single week. Thus, if you don't see an article on AICN, it means that Leno is continuing to win...much to Herc's dissatisfaction. In other news, Herc will likely write his 427th article about Sarah Palin later on this week.

  • Oct. 17, 2011, 6:26 a.m. CST

    the reason I called Leno a racist was...

    by emeraldboy

    there was a sketch he did which involved tv shows from around the world including china. I have seen the tonight show with jay leno on CNBC. in the past. talkbackers dont like leno and maybe they never did but I found him funny once but that was a long time. I liked leno when he did all those characters back when ed hall wrote for them. There are some some who found shtick with his band leader Doc to be offensive. others loved it. Brian Cowen was the leader of the country when the economy tanked but even still the joke that leno made him about was not funny. even the simpsons episode about modern ireland wasnt funny. yahoo uk this weekend was full of homophobia regarding comic turned chatshow host graham norton. ugly stuff....

  • Oct. 17, 2011, 8:41 a.m. CST

    Does this mudbass even know that Jay has a black bandleader? - STFU

    by Bobo_Vision

    Not necessarily agreeing with emeraldboy, but Jay's band leaders are meant to increase the appeal (diversity) of the show and laugh at all his bad jokes. They are shucking and jiving to the man. Jay's last band leader, Branford Marsalis, quit, and it's no secret that he really doesn't like Jay. And if I'm not mistaken, after the recent Tonight Show fracas, Kevin announced his pending retirement from the show, too, but I could be wrong since I don't follow that show.

  • And will fade away and disappear with few people noticing.

  • Oct. 17, 2011, 10:33 a.m. CST

    carson had his band leader doc dress up in latino outfits

    by emeraldboy

    and for decades nobody batted an eyelid. untill the 1990's when nbc decided realised that it was offensive to latinos to have anyone dress up in latino outfits especially if they werent latino. maybe this is all nbc. who knows.

  • Oct. 17, 2011, 10:58 a.m. CST

    Team Coco for me.

    by ZodNotGod

    The rest can eat a dick. A friend of mine swears by Ferguson, but I don't know.

  • Oct. 17, 2011, 11 a.m. CST

    And seriously if there is anyone left who still likes Leno...

    by ZodNotGod

    I ask you WHY? And please go die in a fire because its obvious you are an ignorant, mainstream, toothless, soft retard.

  • Oct. 17, 2011, 12:15 p.m. CST

    @ bobo_vision:

    by Chris Moody

    Yeah, the gradual road to obscurity is the most shameful and disappointing. I spoke with someone last week who thought that Conan was already cancelled. As for Leno and Letterman: There is room for BOTH on late night television. Leno draws a bigger audience, but Letterman is fine for his fans. Why do people like Herc have to make it either/or? It reminds me of those stupid iPhone/Android arguments. There is room for BOTH in this country. "To each their own." Unfortunately, some guys are so bipolar that they believe EVERYONE must accept the one that they prefer. They also question the intellect of anyone who doesn't line up with their tastes. They are almost like the TV-taste gestapo. There are quite a few people who like Letterman. There are just more that like Leno. It is just sad that we never hear about the late night ratings until someone actually does better than Leno for a show or two before falling back into 2nd place for the next year.

  • Oct. 17, 2011, 2:24 p.m. CST

    Letterman is a raving liberal now BUT he loves the US troops.

    by Quake II

    It's not very well known but every single year Dave flies to a US base in either Afghanistan or Iraq and spends some time with the troops (usually during the holidays). He also bring attention to veterans with disabilities and interviews war heroes on his show whenever possible. So as much as I hate the "new" liberal Dave, I have a really deep respect for what he does behind the scenes for US servicemen. Leno is a douchebag and has never been been funny. The Tonight Show hasn't been funny since Carson left.

  • Oct. 17, 2011, 2:30 p.m. CST

    Go on youtube and watch old Letterman clips...

    by Quake II

    Watch his NBC show and then go way back to when he was on 10,000 Pyramid, Battle Of The Network Stars and his Mork & Mindy role. The guy is a legend at this point and he's the ONLY living talk show host that has the skills and quick wit that Carson had. Dave can make a joke/comeback in seconds while Leno struggles to even ask a decent question to his guests.

  • Oct. 17, 2011, 2:40 p.m. CST

    the inevitable march of time has muted dave's spark

    by smudgewhat

    but still gotta give props for tons of years of great laughs. all i did in high school was watch his 12:30 show. it was fantastic. gotta say craig kilborn has been killing it lately. love the geoff peterson character - so out there like vintage dave.

  • Oct. 18, 2011, 6:31 a.m. CST

    Letterman is a hack.

    by WarrenSmooth

    Snarkiness is not comedy. Sorry, kids! He sucks.

  • The Late Night Wars are over. There is a clear winner and a clear 2nd or 3rd place guy. Leno has dominated, eclipsed, destroyed his competition for 20 years. It wasn't even really close most nights. He has owned Letterman. I'm sorry this damages your ego because Howard Stern told you that you should hate Leno, but he is the clear victor...

  • Oct. 18, 2011, 9:19 a.m. CST


    by ZodNotGod

    Leno's ass-kissing and shittiness is not comedy either.