David Letterman’s scandalous admission of intraoffice sex and his role in a blackmail scheme appear to have titillated audiences. CBS’ Late Show is up 13% in total viewership for the season over last year. Sure, Dave is off 8% in the adults 18-to-49 demographic, but that’s nothing compared to the Tonight Show’s plunge. Since Conan O’Brien took over, the chatfest's ratings have fallen 15% in the demo and 47% overall.
“Letterman was the top story on the news for days running for quite a while and is still more on the minds of the general public than he's practically ever been before,” an analyst tells the Hollywood Reporter. “In a fragmented universe where achieving a 1 rating is a victory, having literally tens of millions of people buzzing about you is generally going to be a really big advantage.”