NBC and Conan Go Another Round

On Friday, Polone noted, O'Brien actually beat "The Jay Leno Show" in the coveted 18-to-49-year-old demographic.

"It's pretty amazing since he's on at 11:35 and [Leno's] on at 10," Polone said.

Polone said viewers who initially began tuning to see what O'Brien would say about the controversy ultimately decided they liked the show, helping drive the continued ratings surge.

"The ratings just kept building and building and building," he said. "If they didn't like his stuff, they wouldn't come back."

Not everyone is in O'Brien's corner.

Last week, Dick Ebersol, the chairman of NBC Universal Sports, told the New York Times that O'Brien has no one to blame for his fate besides himself and his disappointing performance and also criticized the host for mocking Leno. He said it was "chicken-hearted and gutless" of the comedian to use his shows this week "to blame a guy you couldn't beat in the ratings."

Ebersol added that "what this is really all about is an astounding failure by Conan."

With reports from ABC News' Brian Braiker and The Associated Press.

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