ABC’s ‘Jimmy Kimmel’ Rises in July, Routs Letterman in Demo

Late Night with Jimmy Kimmel Ratings

NBC's 'Tonight Show' draws more 18-49ers than both combined

NBC’s Jimmy Fallon remains the dominant latenight talkshow, but that hasn’t keep ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel from notching some ratings achievements of his own. And both seem to be gaining at the expense of CBS’ David Letterman, who has lost whatever momentum he had after announcing his 2015 retirement.

For the July sweep, despite facing a stronger Fallon, “Jimmy Kimmel Live” posted gains over last year in both adults 18-49 (up 10% to 729,000) and total viewers (up 12% to 2.293 million). This is the third straight year that the ABC show has posted July growth in both categories.

It’s not surprising that Kimmel has gained total viewers vs. last year, as some of the older fans of Jay Leno’s “Tonight Show” on NBC have drifted over to either Kimmel or Letterman. But the gains in 18-49 are a good sign that’s he’s connecting with more viewers in his target demo.

“Kimmel” finished second in 18-49 among all latenight programs starting at 11:35 p.m. or later, leapfrogging CBS’ “Late Show With David Letterman.” While “Kimmel” grew its 18-49 audience by 10% year-over-year, “Late Show” tumbled 25% (to 551,000), and Kimmel’s advantage over Letterman (32% in 18-49) was the largest ever for any sweep month.

In total viewers, Letterman still had the edge on Kimmel (2.379 million to 2.293 million) but the gap has closed considerably.

Letterman announced in April that he would be retiring sometime next year, with CBS naming Stephen Colbert as his replacement. He’s expected to see a big ratings bounce for his final shows, but for now auds are looking elsewhere in latenight.

NBC’s “Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” dominated the July sweep overall with 3.772 million total viewers and 1.506 million adults 18-49 — a larger young-adult audience than “Kimmel” and “Late Show” combined. It was up a big 39% from “Tonight’s” July 2013 average with Leno as host.

Other year-to-year 18-49 gainers among post-primetime shows were Comedy Central’s “Daily Show” (up 3% to 890,000), ABC’s “Nightline” (up 20% to 481,000) and NBC’s “Last Call With Carson Daly” (up 5% to 373,000)


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  1. Stuart Engel says:

    The guests on Letterman’s show are clearly not “audience grabbers”. He books guests that he has an interest in or Medal of Honor winners that have a heroic story to tell, He is now past the ratings game and obviously doesn’t give a damn about starlets with a movie to sell.

  2. John says:

    You make it sound like “Late Show” gives a hoot about ratings. I think after 30 yrs Dave has his “followers” and I doubt they have meetings too see how they can beat the other two in ratings..if you were to put up how many fans of Daves have passed,it migth equal the rise in viewers Kimmel had :-D
    Thats my story and Im sticking too it

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