Chalk one up for Team Coco.
As expected, Conan O'Brien's new late-night show opened big -- playing before more than 4 million viewers on averge during its premiere on TBS.
Conan averaged almost 4.16 million watchers on Monday night in the 11 p.m., according to Nielsen data. Included in that total were some 3.29 million of the Madison Avenue-coveted persons 18-to-49 set.
That gave Conan the Nov. 8 edge over CBS's Late Show with David Letterman and NBC's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, which claimed 1.34 million and 952,000 of those viewers, respectively, as well as Comedy Central's 11 p.m. hour pair of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (687,000) and The Colbert Report (551,000). For its part, Lopez Tonight, benefiting from its Conan lead-in on TBS, notched 833,000 persons in the demo in the midnight hour, to finish fourth for the night with that group.
Conan, which featured guests and Seth Rogen, Lea Michele and guitarist Jack White, with whom O'Brien played a duet, also garnered a large number of younger viewers, with 2.45 million persons 18 to 34, as the premiere played before a projected median age of 30.
TBS said O'Brien has a strong following among younger viewers, and social media has proven to be a key way for him to connect with his fans. "Conan's audience has been very vocal online, and he clearly made a smooth transition from Twitter to TBS," said Steve Koonin, president of Turner Entertainment Networks, in a statement. "Conan delivered an extraordinary audience and stands out as the youngest late-night talk show on television."
On Nov. 9, Conan will feature Tom Hanks, Jack McBrayer and Soundgarden. Upcoming guests: Jon Hamm, Fistful of Mercy and Charlyne Yi on Wednesday; and Michael Cera, Julie Bowen and Jon Dore on Thursday.
While most observers anticipated big sampling for Conan coming out of the gate, the question will be at what level will show settle, particularly relatively to the 18-to-49 crowd. Some have suggested that TBS's target is a 1 million-plus average among those viewers. Last month, Comedy's The Daily Show, averaged 1.3 million against that demo, marking the first time someone not named Jay or Dave led with that group for a full month since at least 2000.
The following was the late-night performance for the new TV season through Halloween:
Late-Night Viewing In New TV Season
Network Show Median Age Viewers 18-49s
ABC Nightline 55.5 3.83 million 1.27 million
NBC Tonight Show 56.2 3.64 million 1.29 million
CBS Late Show 55 3.57 million 1.19 million
Comedy Daily Show 39.7 2.07 million 1.19 million
Cartoon Adult Swim 23 1.9 3 million 1.15 million
CBS Late Late Show 52.7 1.78 million 687,000
ABC Jimmy Kimmel 51.5 1.78 million 696,000
NBC Jimmy Fallon 49.7 1.68 million 767.000
Comedy Colbert Report 36.8 1.43 million 898,000
E! Chelsea Lately 35.9 987,000 669,000
NBC Last Call 47.7 945,000 473,000
TBS Lopez Tonight 35.3 647,000 472,000
Source: Nielsen, from Sept. 20 through Oct. 31, 2010.