Late-Night Ratings: Jimmy Kimmel Overtakes Stephen Colbert for First Time

Hillary Clinton Jimmy Kimmel
Courtesy of ABC

After weeks of lagging CBS’ shiny new “Late Show with Stephen Colbert” in the late-night ratings race, ABC veteran “Jimmy Kimmel Live” is starting to make some noise — edging ahead of original episodes of the Eye program for the first time.

In Nielsen’s “live plus same-day” estimates for the week of Nov. 2-6, which saw NBC’s “Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” remain a dominant No. 1, “Kimmel” bested “Late Show” by 5% in both adults 18-49 rating (0.60 vs. 0.57) and total viewers (2.626 million vs. 2.492 million). The ABC program got a boost on Thursday when a visit by Hillary Clinton produced its most-watched telecast on any night in six months (3.116 million). It also won by 22% in 18-49 over “Late Show” that night (0.73 vs. 0.60).

“Jimmy Kimmel Live” was the only 11:35 p.m. talkshow up week to week, rising 6% in 18-49 and 10% in total viewers; the show’s Tuesday averages were excluded due to Election Night coverage. “Tonight,” which averaged a 0.91 in 18-49 and 3.372 million total viewers, and “Late Show” were both down 6% in the demo.

For the first six weeks of Colbert’s stint as host of “The Late Show,” the newcomer beat “Kimmel” on average by about 40% in both adults 18-49 rating (0.73 to 0.52) and total viewers (3.19 million vs. 2.24 million), according to Nielsen. But a weeklong stint hosting from Brooklyn helped “Kimmel” move ahead of “Late Show” repeats during the week of Oct. 19-23. And the ABC program then shaved “Late Show’s” demo advantage to just 7% when all shows were back in originals th week of Oct. 26-30.

News of the breakthrough victory for Kimmel came one day after CBS announced that it would be airing a live episode of “Late Show” following the network’s Super Bowl coverage on Feb. 7.

For NBC, “Tonight Show” last week expanded its lead over “Late Show” to a largest-yet 60% in 18-49 rating (0.91 vs. 0.57). And behind it, “Late Night with Seth Meyers” pulled to within 0.05 of Colbert and 0.08 of Kimmel in 18-49 despite starting an hour later.

Head-to-head, “Late Night” dominated CBS’ “Late Late Show with James Corden,” winning by 73% in adults 18-49 rating (0.52 vs. 0.30) and by 26% in total viewers (1.636 million vs. 1.294 million).

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  1. Sam Fragello says:

    Kimmel is the best. Period. James Corden is very entertaining and talented. He does a lot of great skits. I can’t stomach Colbert and will never watch him. I don’t understand why talk shows have to be political. Seth Meyers show is the exact same thing every night. Not funny at all. No talent. All he does is sit at his desk and read what someone else wrote. And he is such a flaming liberal. He needs to keep his political views out of his show. It makes it even less funny if possible.

  2. momomoj jojojjom says:

    cobert’s problem is that he didnt stay truer to the format of the show on comedy central. he didnt have to remain true to the ‘character’, but he became too much of a formulaic late night host at cbs now. screw stay human!

  3. Chris says:

    Colbert is great. He does great interviews and has fun with his guests and the audience. In my opinion, I think his show is for a slightly more intelligent, news conscious audience than Kimmel and Fallon.

  4. eric says:

    Colbert is sinking faster than expected but without his character from his old show this was inevitable.

  5. Pike says:

    I’m pretty sure this isn’t the first time he’s beaten him in the ratings but okay. Congrats!

  6. kpflat says:

    Kimmel is funny and doesn’t talk down to his audience like Colbert and isn’t full of gimmicks like Fallon. But to each their own I guess.

  7. goatsandmonkeys says:

    Colbert sweats and strains too much.

  8. Patrick says:

    Colbert talks down to his viewers, and his guests are super boring. If I wanted to know more about scientists, artists, and non-actor/celebrity types, I would read the NYT or a similar publication. Which I do. So, Colbert’s condescending and his guests/interviews are super boring. At least Kimmel and Fallon have fun, and obviously want their viewers to have fun.

    • BobC. says:

      This is your same rant as before, Patrick. Colbert doesn’t talk down to his guests at all and he isn’t boring. His audience is more intelligent and better educated maybe, and that’s why you feel that he talks down to you. He’s an excellent interviewer and has more diverse, stimulating guests. Fallon is funny and a nice guy — very talented — but a lousy interviewer. It’s ALL fun and games and no substance. We watch him and think of a 9-year old without his Ritalin. He fawns over guests to the Nth degree (Oh my gosh! What an amazing movie! Oh my God, that’s the greatest song ever recorded!). Kimmel may not be as talented as Colbert or Fallon but he is a great interviewer as well, and very personable.

    • Tom Anderson says:

      i agree with Patrick. I think Colbert sucks and i find it painful to try to watch his show. i don’t find him funny at all, nor can his writers even make him look funny, as they are also apparently unfunny.

    • whispersd says:

      Weird complaint, and so precise it seems unlikely. All of these shows draw their guest lists from the same group of celebrities.
      “At least Kimmel and Fallon have fun, and obviously want their viewers to have fun.”
      As opposed to Colbert? Colbert isn’t having fun? Or he doesn’t want his viewers to have fun?

      Again, a bizarre complaint that seems to have no relationship to the show I’ve watched.

      It’s OK to prefer Kimmel if you like. Go ahead! Trashing Colbert anonymously on the Internet feels like some geniuses marketing strategy. Enjoy trolling!

      • Patrick says:

        Colbert’s lead guest is drawn from the same pool of celebs as all the others. But he also has a lot of “high brow” guests that are academics, serious political operatives, or serious authors. And that’s fine. But his very short interview doesn’t do the serious nature of their abilities justice. There are much better places to learn about the type of guests he brings on. It would be one thing if these “serious” interviews were good. They aren’t. And they aren’t amusing.
        And yes, Kimmel and Fallon seem like they want their viewers to have fun and enjoy themselves before bed. Colbert seems like he’s lecturing his viewers and trying to teach them something. But he’s very smug about it, he does a bad job of teaching anything, and it boring in the process.

      • BobC. says:

        Totally agree with you, whispersd. Colbert certainly doesn’t talk down to his audience. And the whole idea of scientists, artists, and non-actor/celebrity types (politicians, say), is hardly “super boring.” They add a bit more variety and interest.

        Colbert is very talented as an actor and singer, and he adds far more different types of guests for a more intellectual audience. (Kinda like a latter day Cavett — or a present day Seth Meyers) This is not a knock against Kimmel who is excellent as a host/comic and I think does a far better job than Fallon (who fawns over his guests and overplays the star struck awe of some of them, and therefore, is not the good interviewer Colbert or Kimmel are).

  9. bliz says:

    Kinda unrelated but im so sick and tired of jon batiste on steo hen colbert and the band sucks…batiste is so lame and unfunny and annoying and redundant and his band does same stuff all the time

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