Letterman Gets A Boost From Palin Flap, But Conan Wins

David Letterman's squabble with Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin gave his "Late Show" a ratings boost last week, but new NBC rival Conan O'Brien retains the upper hand after two weeks as "Tonight Show" host.

Overall for the week of June 8, "Tonight" won in total viewers as well as among such demographic groups as adults 18-49 and 18-34, according to Nielsen Media Research figures released Thursday.

Even so, CBS' "Late Show" scored total-viewer victories on three nights last week, as controversy (and viewer interest) heated up following Letterman's racy joke about a Palin daughter. The joke was delivered as part of Letterman's June 8 monologue.

Last week's Tuesday, Thursday and Friday editions of "Late Show" edged out "Tonight" in viewers.

"Late Show" also edged out "Tonight" in household ratings,2.7 vs. 2.6 for the week. (A ratings point represents 1,145,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation's estimated 114.5 million TV homes.)

For the week, "Late Show" had 3.67 million viewers, separated from front-runner "Tonight" with its 3.77 million viewers by just 100,000 viewers. For "Late Show," it was the closest competitive position to "Tonight" since December 2005, Nielsen said.

Until longtime host Jay Leno departed "Tonight" on May 29, the NBC late show had been the traditional ratings leader at 11:35 p.m.

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