B’cast-cable repeats’ defeat

'Conan' shows improvement

The slow start of day-later reruns of “Late Night With Conan O’Brien” on Comedy Central continues the disappointing performance of broadcast-to-cable repeats of the five-a-week series “Later With Carson Daly,” which E! canceled, and “The View.”

At least “Conan” has shown improvement in the adults 18-34 category on Comedy Central from a year ago.

E! Entertainment TV was forced to eradicate reruns of “Later With Carson Daly,” the ongoing NBC talkshow, when it managed a paltry 0.12 rating in cable homes at 6 p.m. (from March 4 to May 10) and an equally depressed 0.12 rating when E! banished it to 3 p.m. from May 13 to Aug. 30.

At 6 p.m., “Later” was down 35% from “Fashion Emergency,” the series in the timeslot a year ago; at 3 p.m., “Later” wound up 14% below last year’s “Talk Soup.”

And A&E was hemorrhaging viewers when it stripped “The View” at 7 p.m. from April 1 to May 3, plunging by 50% in homes from its lead-in “Law & Order” and by 73% from the year-ago time period (when reruns of “Law & Order” also played).

Since “The View” dropped back to 6 p.m. on May 6, it’s down by only 3% in households from the two half-hour shows in the time period a year ago (“Night Court” and “News Radio”) from May to mid-September. But it’s still far below its 5 p.m. lead-in “Murder, She Wrote,” losing 67% of the audience.

The numbers for “Conan” at 7 p.m. weeknights (eight cablecasts, Sept. 9-19) are not nearly as bad as those for “Later” and “The View,” although it’s off by 9% in households from last year’s “The Daily Show” and “Win Ben Stein’s Money.”

From its “Saturday Night Live” lead-in at 6 p.m., “Conan” drops in households by 15% and by 18% in adults 18-34. Compared with a year ago, though, “Conan” is up by 17% in adults 18-34.

Kathryn Mitchell, senior VP of programming for Comedy Central, said she didn’t expect “Conan” reruns to charge out of the gate because the network didn’t have anywhere near the kind of money HBO lavished on the premiere of “The Sopranos.” Comedy Central did take a back page of TV Guide and bought a couple of full pages in Entertainment Weekly but most of the promotion has consisted on in-house ads on Comedy Central itself.

“I’d rather have a slow build for ‘Conan,’ ” Mitchell said, “than a flash in the pan that gets tons of viewers for a week or two and then struggles” in the ratings.

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