Conan O’Brien returned to TV last night with the debut episode of his new TBS show, Conan.
The show opened with a pre-record video montage called “Last season on ‘Conan'” which shows Conan getting fired at NBC, getting turned down at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce (by Jon Hamm!), doing a short stint at Burger King and finally meeting with Larry King who had just two words for him: “Basic cable.”
The rest of the show was typical Conan including a couple string dances and a few cracks at NBC. “It’s not easy doing a late-night show on a channel without a lot of money and that people have trouble finding. That’s why I left NBC,” he quipped.
Conan welcomed Seth Rogen as his first guest. Rogen joked, “I’m so glad everyone else more famous was busy.” Lea Michele was Conan’s second guest and also had nothing but flattering things to say to the talk host, she even commented on his notoriously wild hair. “And your hair looks amazing,” she told him. Conan jammed with musical guest (and friend) Jack White, the two even recorded together over the summer.
Overall a solid start, but the most impressive aspect of Conan’s debut show is definitely the ratings. The show drew 4.2 million viewers and 3.3 million adults in the coveted 18-49 demographic. That’s more than 2/3 of the audience O’Brien attracted for his debut on The Tonight Show in May 2009. Conan beat out all of its direct competition, including The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (1.3 million; 690,000 in 18-49), The Colbert Report (1 million; 550,000 in 18-49), Leno (3.5 million, 952,000 in 18-49), and Letterman (3.4 million; 1.3 million in 18-49).
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