Michael Jackson Coverage is Good for Martin Bashir and ‘Nightline,’ Bad for Conan O’Brien

By Andrew Gauthier 

The public’s interest in Michael Jackson has been very good for Martin Bashir. The ‘Nightline’ anchor is best known for his 2003 documentary ‘Living With Michael Jackson‘ which 27 million American viewers tuned in to watch in 2003. The public’s current fascination with the details of Michael Jackson’s recent death has been instrumental in the recent ratings success of Bashir’s ‘Nightline.’

According to TVbytheNumbers, ABC News Nightline was #1 among Total Viewers, Adults 25-54 and Adults 18-49 for the week of June 29, 2009, outperforming NBCs The Tonight Show with Conan OBrien and CBS Late Show with David Letterman, according to Nielsen Media Research. This marks the second week in a row Nightline placed first in Total Viewers. Both NBC and CBS aired repeats last week.

Nightline continues to grow season to date, week to week and year to year. Averaging 4.02 million Total Viewers for the week, Nightline grew +26% versus the same week last year, as Conan declined -16% and Letterman increased +2%. Week to week, Nightline increased +3% among Total Viewers while Conan decreased -34%. Season to date, Nightline increased 13% among Total Viewers. Additionally, Nightline increased its total viewing lead over The Tonight Show by 700% week to week and 400% year to year. More…