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September 2, 2014

David Letterman Extortion Scandal: Will It Hurt the 'Late Show''s Ratings?

by Andrew Scott, posted Oct 2nd 2009 12:00PM
David LettermanDavid Letterman may be caught in another scandal (last night, he admitted to having affairs with his staffers after a man tried to extort him for $2 million), but it's clear the 'Late Show' host is doing something right.

In the past few months, Letterman has dominated the late-nite ratings war, pulling well ahead of his competitor, 'The Tonight Show''s Conan O'Brien. Last week alone, Letterman averaged a whopping 5.04 million viewers, with guests that included President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton, and ranked first every night in the crucial 18-49 and 25-54 demos. That marks the 'Late Show''s biggest victory over 'The Tonight Show' since 1994, according to the NY Times (by comparison: O'Brien averaged just 2.4 million viewers, and earned 1.0 and 1.1 rating in the 18-49 and 25-49 demos).David LettermanDavid Letterman may be caught in another scandal (last night, he admitted to having affairs with his staffers after a man tried to extort him for $2 million), but it's clear the 'Late Show' host is doing something right.

In the past few months, Letterman has dominated the late-night ratings war, pulling well ahead of his competitor, 'The Tonight Show''s Conan O'Brien. Last week alone, Letterman averaged a whopping 5.04 million viewers, with guests that included President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton, and ranked first every night in the crucial 18-49 and 25-54 demos. That marks the 'Late Show''s biggest victory over 'The Tonight Show' since 1994, according to the NY Times (by comparison: O'Brien averaged just 2.4 million viewers, and earned 1.0 and 1.1 rating in the 18-49 and 25-49 demos).

Time will tell whether this latest news will have any impact on Letterman's ratings. But if his past controversies are any indication, he may come out of it unharmed, if not on top. In June, Letterman weathered an intense media feud with former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, which sparked after Letterman made a number of quips at Palin's wardrobe and daughter (more on that here).

But for now, the joke may be on him.



Watch Letterman Respond to the Scandal

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