Grouchy and Grouchier: Howard Stern on Letterman.
It's been a perfect storm of perfect trouble for one Conan O'Brien.
It's only taken one week for David Letterman to beat him in the ratings: a 3.4 for Letterman on Tuesday versus a 2.9 for O'Brien.
O'Brien's ratings have steadily declined since his debut on the Tonight Show last week, and Stephen Colbert's much-heralded visit to Iraq has chipped away at his demographic: males, 18 to 34.
Then, Letterman hit Conan with the one-two punch of Howard Stern and Julia Roberts, introduced some new comedy bits (the guy who lives in the Ed Sullivan Theater, for one), and seemed altogether revived by the idea that he has a new competitor.
Stern has always been a Letterman fan, and was particularly harsh to NBC and Conan's predecessor, Jay Leno, on the Late Show, saying, "I never liked Jay. I can't stand Jay. I've never seen anybody who behaves like a robot like this guy. I watched his final show, saying goodbye to the 'Tonight Show,' reading it off a teleprompter for crying out loud. Where's the emotion? Where's the humanity?"
Today Letterman has signed a contract with CBS to broadcast through 2012. All hail the new king of late night!