'Colbert' Gains In Late Night As Political Comedy Reigns

Late-night TV viewing is posting strong overall numbers for CBS’ “Late Show with Stephen Colbert” -- while “Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” has a slight lead in key 18-49 viewers.

Season-to-date Nielsen data through February 2 of this year has “Late Show” up a big 31% with a dominating 3.86 million average viewers -- an increase from the show’s 2.95 million of a year ago. This comes during a period when Colbert has amped up his comic attacks on the Trump Administration.

NBC’s “Tonight Show” seems to have been most affected -- down 18% to 2.77 million from 3.37 million. Critics point to far less political comic content from Fallon in his opening monologues.

The show’s 18-49 numbers have also declined. Still, Fallon maintains a slight lead here, with a Nielsen 0.69 rating/4 share compared to a 0.61 rating/4 share for Colbert. A year ago, Fallon was at 0.88/5 compared to Colbert’s 0.56/3.



ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” has grown a bit year-to-year -- 2% to 2.29 million viewers versus 2.25 million. Like Colbert, Kimmel has also been pushing much political satire in his opening monologues. Kimmel’s 18-49 ratings have remained roughly the same -- 0.50/3 versus 0.48/3 a year ago.

“Tonight Show” leads into NBC’s “Late Night with Seth Myers” -- which is now at 1.58 million average viewers versus 1.60 million a year ago. The “Late Night" 18-49 ratings are now at 0.40/3, from a 0.45/3 a year ago.

4 comments about "'Colbert' Gains In Late Night As Political Comedy Reigns".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, February 13, 2018 at 8:12 a.m.

    Talk about blockbuster ratings---wow! Both Colbert and Fallon reach six out of every thousand adults aged 18-49 per minute and among Millennials the ratings are probably lower.

  2. Kevin Killion from Stone House Systems, Inc., February 13, 2018 at 12:19 p.m.

    "Political Comedy Reigns"?  Oh, really?  With a 3-network combined 18-49 rating of 1.86 and a 3-network combined share of 11?  So, of 18-49'ers who are watching TV, 89% -- eighty-nine percent! -- are *NOT* watching the left-wing yakkers?  Wow, that's hardly "reigning"!

  3. Jon Currie from Currie Communications, Inc. replied, February 13, 2018 at 1:18 p.m.

    Precisely the same thing can be said about your favorite “dominant” Faux cable news. 

  4. CJ McCabe from C-Mac replied, February 13, 2018 at 1:21 p.m.


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