Letterman's Sex Scandal A Huge Ratings Success

There's nothing like a sex scandal to attract television viewers, and David Letterman's mea culpas concerning his extra-marital affairs with staffers have been a ratings bonanza for the "Late Show" host. 

In fact, more people saw Letterman's bizarre apology to his wife, his staff, and former Governor Sarah Palin on Monday "than watched anything on NBC in prime-time" that night.

As reported by the Associated Press Tuesday:

While David Letterman would undoubtedly do without the personal turmoil, his blackmail scandal is great for business.

The late-night talk show host's apologies to his wife and staff made for gripping television, and more viewers tuned in to his CBS program than watched anything on NBC in prime-time on Monday. That includes Letterman's old rival, Jay Leno. [...]

The 5.7 million viewers who tuned in to Letterman Monday more than doubled the audience for NBC's "Tonight" show with Conan O'Brien, according to the Nielsen Co. It was slightly less than the 5.9 million who watched Thursday when Letterman broke the news of the alleged extortion attempt.

The ratings are a testament to the power of the Internet after Letterman's representatives released details of the scandal to the media about three hours before his show aired Thursday. His audience that night was more than a million more than usual, meaning word spread quickly and encouraged people to tune in.

Adding insult to injury, more people watched Letterman on Thursday and Monday nights than Katie Couric averaged on last week's CBS "Evening News."

With that in mind, all together now: I love a sex scandal, how about you? 

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.