Re: Writers Walk - Guess we entertain ourselves for a while

Strike takes a deep bite from late-night
Leno is down 12 percent and Letterman 11 percent

The late-night talk shows were already hurting, with ratings for top
chatters like Jay Leno and David Letterman down 7 percent or more
through the first month of the new season.

Now, with production of the shows on hiatus because of the writers?
strike, they?re hurting even more, and it's likely to get much worse.

This week, all five late-night broadcast talk shows are in repeats, as
writers who pen the shows? topical monologues walk the picket lines,
and ratings are down for almost all.

Tuesday night?s "Tonight Show with Jay Leno" averaged a 3.6 household
rating in Nielsen metered markets, down 12 percent from a 4.1 the same
night last week.

CBS?s "Late Show with David Letterman" slipped 11 percent, from a 2.8
to a 2.5, while lead-out "Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" fell 13
percent, from a 1.5 to a 1.3.

Even ABC?s "Jimmy Kimmel Live," which had the advantage of a fresh
"Nightline" lead-in, was off 15 percent week to week, from a 2.0 to a

NBC?s "Late Night with Conan O?Brien" was the only program not to see
week-to-week declines, staying even at a 1.8 rating.

Right now it looks as if the strike could last weeks more, if not
months, which will mean weeks to months of reruns, and that's a real
worry for the networks.

A big issue with late-night reruns is that they go stale quickly,
unlike reruns of dramas and comedies, tied as the shows are to what's
in the news that day.

A rerun of Leno talking about a real news event that actually happened
several weeks earlier, say Ellen DeGeneres' on-air breakdown, is going
to confuse some viewers but turn off a lot more. They'll realize
they've already seen Leno's riff on the matter and turn away.

But one show is sure to gain during the strike. That's ABC?s
"Nightline." It will continue to air fresh every night, since news
writers are not on the picket lines, a huge advantage in itself. But
also it won't be facing competition from Comedy Central?s "The Colbert
Report," which is also in repeats.

Tuesday night, "Nightline" averaged a 3.5 metered market household
rating, down 5 percent from the previous week but still ranking ahead
of CBS?s "Late Show" and just a tenth of a point behind leader

Meanwhile, in late night for the week ended Oct. 28, NBC?s "Tonight
Show with Jay Leno" finished first for the week yet again, averaging
4.5 million total viewers and a 1.5 rating among adults 18-49. "The
Late Show with David Letterman" on CBS had 3.7 million viewers and a
1.1 rating in the demo, with ABC?s "Nightline" bringing in 3.6 million
viewers and a 1.2 18-49 rating. In late-late night, ABC?s "Jimmy
Kimmel Live" had 2.1 million total viewers and a 0.7 in 18-49s, with
NBC?s "Late Night with Conan O?Brien" averaging 1.9 million viewers
and a 0.8, CBS?s "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" at 1.6
million viewers and a 0.6, and NBC?s "Last Call with Carson Daly"
bringing in 1.1 million viewers and a 0.4 among 18-49s.