Why are David Letterman's troubles killing Conan O'Brien? Why may Jay Leno's trendline be doing the man no favors, either? And why should the poor Mr. O'Brien be thankful that at least he's not part of Fox's Friday night lineup?
The answers—and more questions—in the latest TV ratings quiz:
1. So, how's the sex scandal treating Letterman's Late Show? Very well. Thursday's bombshell announcement was watched by about 5.8 million people, some of whom may not have even had sex with the host. Last night's apology addendum was more than twice as big, audience-wise, as O'Brien's Tonight Show, and higher rated than anything in NBC's prime-time schedule, including The Jay Leno Show.
2. Is Leno helping or hurting O'Brien? Way too soon to tell, but the early returns aren't encouraging. While Leno's big premiere week helped O'Brien outdraw Letterman, Leno's subsequent second-week slide seemed to take The Tonight Show down with it. For the pre-sex scandal week of Sept. 21, Letterman averaged 5 million viewers to O'Brien's 2.4 million.
3. How could things get worse for O'Brien? He could star in Brothers, Til Death or Dollhouse—the three Friday night Fox shows that got buried by everything on ABC, CBS and NBC, not to mention a record-sized Suite Life on Deck on cable's Disney Channel.
4. What were last week's most-watched new shows? NCIS: Los Angeles (third place, 17.4 million), The Good Wife (14th place, 13.7 million), FlashForward (23rd place, 10.7 million), Modern Family (26th place, 10 million) and Cougar Town (32nd place, 9.2 million), all per the latest Nielsen rankings.
5. What were the least-watched scripted series, network by network? CBS' caboose was Gary Unmarried (59th place, 6.6 million). ABC's was Eastwick (62nd place, 6.57 million); NBC's, Parks and Recreation (85th place, 4.7 million), which kept Heroes (5.7 million) out of the basement; Fox's, the aforementioned Dollhouse (120th place, 2 million). The CW was undistinguished by Melrose Place (128th place, 1.4 million).
6. What was the CW distinguished by? With Smallville dying on Fridays, and America's Next Top Model in good, but not, top form, The Vampire Diaries led the network. In 94th place, sure, but still…
7. Which top shows were on the rebound? CSI (fifth place, 15.9 million) and The Mentalist (sixth place, 15.8 million) perked up, thanks to Grey's Anatomy (seventh place, 15.7 million) settling down from its season premiere. Desperate Housewives (10th place, 14.6 million) returned to the Top 10.
8. Anything beat NCIS yet? Until further notice, the answer will remain no. The series was again TV's top show with 21.4 million viewers, even bigger than its season opener.
9. Kourtney & Khloé Take Miami vs. Entourage, which Sunday night season finale had the bigger cable entourage? Kourtney & Khloé. The E! show scored nearly as big a crowd as its premiere week, with 2.6 million viewers on hand for Kourtney Kardashian's pregnant pause. The HBO comedy, which didn't air opposite Kourtney & Khloé, ended nearly as strong with 2.5 million, up from its previous season closer, HBO said. (E! Online is a division of E! Entertainment.)
10. Was anything bigger on cable than the now-apparently fearsome Suite Life on Deck? Football was because it's, well, football. Suite Life was the top cable series, with 6.8 million viewers for a special hourlong episode. FX's Sons of Anarchy (3.8 million) was the most-watched drama series. Bravo's The Real Housewives of Atlanta (2.7 million) was the top reality series—even before the weekend's tragic turn for star Kandi Burruss.