In Late-Night Battle, It’s All About Young and Old

By Andrew Gauthier 

The New York Times

The late-night television competition is falling into a pattern that doesn’t change much, even when viewers are given a choice between fresh shows and repeats. It all depends on how old the viewers are.

Older viewers don’t watch Conan O’Brien, even when David Letterman is in repeats; and younger viewers don’t watch Mr. Letterman, even when Mr. O’Brien is in repeats.

For two weeks this month, while Mr. Letterman was in repeats, he still managed to attract more viewers than Mr. O’Brien’s first-run shows. Last week, when Mr. O’Brien offered repeats, he still beat Mr. Letterman in almost every audience group under 55 years old.

Mr. O’Brien managed this last week, even though his repeats fell far behind in terms of total viewers, 2.468 million to 3.407 million for Mr. Letterman. More…