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Conan defeats Letterman in week 2 of late-night ratings battle

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In what is shaping up to be a heated late-night contest, Conan O’Brien topped David Letterman during their second week of head-to-head competition. The Tonight Show proved to be the decisive winner for the week of June 8 in the coveted 18-to-49 demographic — by a margin of 1.5 to .9. But the race was significantly closer in total viewers, as O’Brien netted 3.77 million viewers, only about 100,000 more than Letterman.

Despite the victory, The Tonight Show‘s numbers were down 38 percent from week 1. And The Late Show — bolstered by the Sarah Palin controversy — outdrew Tonight on three days. Before O’Brien took over, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno had been the clear-cut ratings champ for years.

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