Leno, Letterman near viewer lows for second quarter

ABC’s one-two punch of “Nightline” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live” were the only latenight programs to show a second-quarter increase in the 18-49 demo compared with a year ago, according to figures released by Nielsen.

“Kimmel,” which airs at midnight and uses the Alphabet’s newser “Nightline” as a lead-in, saw a 10% increase in the demo. For the first time since 2000, “Nightline” beat “Late Show With David Letterman” in total viewers. “Nightline” averaged 3.7 million viewers to 3.3 million for “Letterman.” “Kimmel” draws 1.7 million.

The 3.3 million viewers seen by “Letterman” was the lowest viewer total for the CBS staple since 1993, its first year on air.

“The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” won the 11:30 hour in the 18-49 demo and total audience, but auds dropped from 5 million in 2009 to 4 million total viewers, which is the lowest since 1992. A major reason for the decline was large viewership a year ago for a highly publicized “Tonight Show” episodes, including Leno’s final night, Conan O’Brien’s first night and an interview with President Obama.

At 12:30 “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” is edging “The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson” in the 18-49 demo, but Ferguson is marginally ahead — 1.7 million to 1.6 million — in total viewers.

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