The ratings truth hurts, Team CoCo: It's Jay Leno's world. Even on Conan O'Brien's night.
O'Brien's final Tonight Show dominated, dwarfed and otherwise killed the rest of the late-night competition, but, nope, didn't top Leno's final Tonight Show.
Make that Leno's "final" Tonight Show.
Per NBC stats, the overnight rating for last night's show was huge. Unfortunately for Team CoCo members, Leno's was about 20 percent huger when the Jaywalking comic signed off, or so we thought, last May.
Oddly, it was young adults, the people who helped doom O'Brien by tuning out 11:35 p.m. up until the last few weeks, who helped O'Brien the most last night.
Among 18- to 49-year-olds, Friday's Tonight Show was 40 percent bigger than Leno's would-be good-bye, according to TVbytheNumbers.
Still, despite the rallies, the headlines and the addition of Will Ferrell on "Free Bird," O'Brien's final Tonight on the whole wasn't as big as his first Tonight seven years months ago.
The final ratings could change, but right now, last night's overnight number is almost, but not quite, even with the overnight number for O'Brien's June premiere.
That summertime telecast, so full of hope and optimism that Leno would stay put at 10 p.m., was watched by 9.2 million, and helped prompt NBC to declare O'Brien the "new king of late night."
The old king of late night resumes his reign on March 1.
Conan O'Brien's off the air until at least September, but the drama continues. Get all the latest late-night news right here.