‘Late’ becomes very early

Letterman tries sked stunt to catch Leno

NEW YORK — Just as NBC latenight host Jay Leno ends his Las Vegas sweep week, David Letterman will pull his own stunt and tape his May 14 show at 4 a.m. ET.

CBS’ “Late Show With David Letterman” is inviting all “nightcrawlers” to attend the early bird taping at the show’s home, the Ed Sullivan Theater in Gotham. Episode will air that night in its regular 11:30 p.m. ET slot. p.m. Show is usually taped at 5:30 p.m. ET.

While showing nice aud gains compared with the same frame last year, Letterman remains solidly in second place, with Leno — who will host his show from Sin City May 10-14 — continuing to enjoy a strong advantage.

According to Nielsen Media Research, Leno drew a 2.3 rating in adults 18-49 and 5.9 million viewers for the week of April 26, which included the first two nights of the May sweep. Letterman drew a 1.5 rating and averaged 4.2 million viewers for the week.

Weekly latenight numbers for ABC News’ “Nightline” did not include the April 30 commercial-free episode, during which host Ted Koppel read the names of the hundreds of U.S. military men and women killed in action in Iraq.

In the late latenight scene, ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” delivered its best overall audience since February (1.6 million), and tied its top adult 18-49 rating since mid-December (0.7). Hour-long show airs at 12:06 a.m. ET.

NBC’s “Late Night With Conan O’Brien” delivered a 1.1 rating and 2.3 million viewers, outperforming CBS’ “The Late Late Show With Craig Kilborn” (0.7 rating/1.6 million viewers) and the second half of Kimmel, according to Nielsen.

Making ratings news on Sunday morning was ABC News’ “This Week With George Stephanopoulos,” which overtook CBS News’ “Face the Nation” on May 2. “This Week” delivered 2 million total viewers and a 0.9 rating in the key news demo, adults 25-54. “Face” delivered 2.8 million total viewers and a 0.8 rating.

Alphabet said ratings delivery narrowed the total viewing gap with leader NBC News’ “Meet the Press With Tim Russert” to its narrowest margin since October — even if that gap was still more than 1 million viewers. Stephanopoulos’ guests during the May 2 episode included Gen. Richard Myers and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

“Meet” commanded 3.9 million total viewers and a 1.0 rating in adults 25-54.

Fox Television’s “Fox News Sunday” averaged 1.7 million viewers and delivered a 0.6 rating in adults 25-54.

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