Conan O'Briens ratings are going through the roof.
The Tonight Show host saw a 50 percent increase in his ratings and has beaten David Letterman, according to Nielsen preliminary figures.
O'Brien's backers see the massive new numbers as a stamp of approval for the beleaguered host.
Gavin Polone, O'Brien's manager, said it was evidence that Conan had grabbed the spotlight and was holding on to it successfully.
"People who never watched Conan before are saying, ‘I’ll try it,’” Polone said. "Now they’re saying, ‘this is good, I’ll stick with it.’" O’Brien’s battle with his network certainly hasn’t hurt his ratings.
O'Brien's spat with NBC is obviously helping his visibility and ensuring that he is getting traction, ironically right at the time that he is leaving NBC, which now seems certain.
Polone compared the moment to when Jay Leno began moving past David Letterman after he interviewed British actor Hugh Grant, who had been caught with a hooker in Los Angeles. “It is that kind of moment,” he said. Leno continued to forge ahead after that.
Many believe that the average Joe, who is feeling under pressure economically these days, is identifying with O'Brien as he faces losing his job as well as a big corporation ousting him.