Conan's New Show A Big Question Mark
While many advertising executives are predicting that the late-night television audience will be fractured even further when Conan O'Brien launches his new show on TBS at 11 00 p.m. on November 8, executives of the cable network are expressing hope that O'Brien may attract viewers who are not now watching live TV at that hour, the Wall Street Journal reported today (Monday). In an interview with the newspaper, TBS programming chief Michael Wright said, "Who knows who is not watching television, who might be watching something online, or playing 'Halo,' or watching a DVD, or watching on [video on demand]?" The Journal cited statistics from Nielsen Research indicating that 8.9 percent of people watch TV at 11 00 p.m. are playing shows recorded earlier on their DVRs. Wright said TBS is prepared to be patient while O'Brien tries to attract those viewers and win others away from Jay Leno and David Letterman. Meanwhile, NBC is insisting that it is satisfied with Jay Leno's performance this year, even though this ratings among younger viewers are below O'Brien's a year ago. Leno's total audience is 50 percent greater than O'Brien's was, and he leads all other late-night rivals. An NBC spokesman told the WSJ "We're more competitive at this point this year than we were at this point last year, and for us that's progress."