What the Future May Hold:
Smaller shares as consumers have more choices and the ratings show more parity. Younger audiences moving away from network TV. O'Brien's audience is eight years younger than Letterman's (46.9 to 55.5) Jimmy Kimmel's audience on ABC averages 52.2 years of age.
O'Brien, whose contract may sideline him for a while, may be inadvertently sending audience to cable, which for now is younger and more diverse. Advertisers are watching. Cable is working hard to beef up scripted dramas and diversify its offerings. There is a lot riding on network late night shows fixing the situation fast and getting it right.
The Rest Of The Story
Leno felt a little flat to me at 10 p.m., but the late-night wars made me watch more late-night TV. I watched a little bit of everyone -- Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, Craig Ferguson and even some Lopez and Sykes.
Some seemed to be trying too hard, some seemed a little inconsistent.
Some of it was just too silly for me.
Most of it was derivative and none of it seemed to flow as easily as Johnny Carson did. But perhaps my dad would have said that about Carson, comparing him to earlier hosts Jack Paar or Steve Allen (the only other "Tonight Show" hosts before O'Brien and Leno).
The fact remains that late night is shifting and so will viewer loyalties and ad dollars.
The work is the opinion of the columnist and does not reflect the opinion of ABC News.
Larry D. Woodard is president and CEO of Vigilante, a New York-based advertising agency that develops consumer-centric advertising campaigns. He is also chairman of the American Association of Advertising Agencies New York Council and the recipient of many prestigious industry awards, including two O'Toole Awards for Agency of the Year, the London International Award, Gold Effie, Telly, Mobius, Addy's and the Cannes Gold Lion. A blogger and a frequent public speaker, Woodard enjoys discussing the intersection of media, politics, entertainment and technology.