Latenight talkshow draws largest aud to date

ABC closed out the month of May with a strong latenight performance, as “Nightline” topped its entertainment rivals and “Jimmy Kimmel Live” drew its largest weekly average to date.

“Nightline,” which was boosted by an exclusive Tuesday interview with Jesse James, averaged 4.39 million viewers for the week of May 24-28, according to Nielsen estimates. It rose more than 50% above its delivery for the same frame a year ago, and outdrew both NBC’s “Tonight Show With Jay Leno” (3.88 million) and CBS’ “Late Show With David Letterman” (3.32 million).

The news program also prevailed in key demos, drawing 1.5 million adults 18-49 and 1.9 million adults 25-54

And following “Nightline,” Kimmel’s 12:05 a.m. series averaged 2.14 million viewers — the most in the show’s seven-year history — including 851,000 adults 18-49, its best demo showing since early March 2009.

“JKL” had entered the week with momentum, courtesy of its special Sunday telecast devoted to the series finale of the Alphabet’s “Lost.” ABC is also keeping the host front and center this month with 30-minute “Jimmy Kimmel Live Game Night” specials, which air before each game of the NBA Finals in most of the country and afterward in the West.

Elsewhere in latenight, NBC’s “Tonight Show” remained on top for the May sweep (1.45 million viewers in adults 18-49, 4.10 million viewers overall), followed by ABC’s “Nightline” (1.35m in 18-49, 3.84 million overall) and CBS’ “Late Show” (1.23m in 18-49, 3.48 million overall). “Nightline” also finished second among the latenighters in the key news demo of adults 25-54, marking the first time in 10 years that it topped either Leno or Letterman in a May sweep in both 25-54 and total viewers.

And in the 12:35 a.m. talkshow battle, NBC’s “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” beat out CBS’ “Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson” in adults 18-49 (836,000 to 761,000) while the Eye program led in total viewers (1.79 million to 1.69 million).

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