Craig Beats Conan!?

Man, Craig Ferguson has had a good couple of weeks huh? First he becomes a U.S. citizen, then he is asked to perform at the White House Correspondents Association Dinner, and now he gets some good ratings news.

For the first time, Craig Ferguson’s Late Late Show beat Conan O’Brien’s Late Night in total viewers, according to some reissued (and slightly tweaked by CBS) Nielsen plus same day ratings for the week of Feb. 8. TheLate Late Show averaged 1.85 million viewers to Late Night’s 1.82 million. The Late Late Show also tied Late Night in viewers in the key 25-54 demo.

Now before those crazed Craig fans start writing obituaries for Late Night, it is worth noting that the reissued Nielsen numbers do not include Tuesday’s installment of the show, which was negatively affected by CBS’ Super Tuesday coverage. In addition, the numbers are based on live plus same day ratings, which include not only live viewers, but delayed viewing as well (in the same day, obv). In other words, Ferguson only won the night, and barely, when those stipulations were added.

 That having been said, this is fantastic news for Ferguson, who has been stuck behind O’Brien ever since he joined the Late Late Show in 2005. Ferguson has made headway in the past few months, but has never been able to top the competition on NBC.

The new numbers may not be the overall ratings win Ferguson and CBS want, but this is the first time that they have ever been this close. With the publicity generated by his “honorary citizen” stunt and his upcoming correspondents dinner performance, Ferguson could be in a position to top O’Brien in the ratings with no asterisk attached sometime soon.