‘Full Frontal With Samantha Bee’ Ratings Are Skyrocketing in the Trump Era

Samantha Bee Variety
Guido Vitti for Variety

While the effect of Donald Trump’s presidency on some late-night shows is still somewhat debatable, TBS’ “Full Frontal With Samantha Bee” is most definitely seeing a big bump in its numbers in the new year.

“Full Frontal” had been enjoying a slow but steady climb before the election in the 18-34 and 18-49 demographics, as well in total viewership: The series premiered on Feb. 8, 2016, to a total average audience of 914,000, an 18-49 audience of 453,000, and an 18-34 audience of 208,000 in Nielsen’s Live+7 ratings.

By the time the Democratic and Republican National Conventions rolled around in July, the show was pulling in well over 1.2 million total viewers (the July 20 episode garnered a total audience of 1.6 million, and 757,000 18-49ers). The last episode before the end of 2016, on Dec. 19, was up to a total audience of 1.32 million, and 579,000 18-49ers.

The show returned on Jan. 11, a little more than a week before Trump’s inauguration, to an audience of 2.11 million, of which 979,000 were in the 18-49 demo and 385,000 were in the 18-34 demo.

The Feb. 8, 2017, episode drew an audience of 2.51 million, with 1.16 million in the 18-49 demo and 444,000 in the 18-34 demo. Compared to the year-ago series premiere, that’s an increase of 175% in total audience, 156% in the 18-49 demo, and 113% in the 18-34 demo.


Jimmy Fallon Stephen Colbert

TV Ratings: Stephen Colbert Tops Jimmy Fallon in Viewers but No Trump Bump Yet for Late-Night Overall

But the jump between the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017 is what’s most interesting with “Full Frontal,” particularly when juxtaposed with the relative lack of movement in the 18-49 demo for Stephen Colbert’s “Late Show” or Seth Meyers’ “Late Night.” (Jimmy Fallon’s “Tonight Show” demo ratings have slid from the last month of 2016 in the absence of NBC’s Thursday Night Football package.)

Colbert and Meyers’ shows have been praised for diving into political humor and fairly sharp criticism of the new administration, yet it doesn’t seem to be having an equivalent bump in the demo. Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah” has also not seen much of a post-inauguration boost, and is now regularly getting beaten by Bee — Wednesday’s episode of “Full Frontal” brought in 766,000 viewers in the 18-49 demo and 1.44 million overall in Nielsen’s Live+Same Day ratings, while “The Daily Show” that night drew 512,000 in the demo and 977,000 total viewers.

And even when it comes to total viewers, yes, Colbert has begun pulling in more viewers than Fallon on a regular basis — but the increase in Colbert’s total audience is mostly a difference of two or three hundred thousand viewers. That sounds like a large number, but the key is to remember that more than 300 million Americans have access to these broadcast shows. It’s nowhere close to the difference we’ve seen with “Full Frontal” in just about every metric that matters.

There’s another factor that bears mentioning here: “Full Frontal” is not, technically, a late-night show. Its timeslot, 10:30 p.m., falls within the primetime boundaries, rather than the officially designated “late night” daypart that begins at 11 p.m. It also only runs once a week, as compared to the more daily routines of the other shows mentioned here.

That said: This is what a “Trump Bump” really looks like.


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  1. Peter says:

    Samantha bee is a wildebeest, She’s a straight joke. I would be embarrassed if that was my mother

  2. It’s sad that what passes for entertainment today is a feminist making fun of the President by making up funny names and making insulting remarks. Such talent must be hard to find LOL

  3. Real America says:

    It’s funny that a smug lefty elitist supposedly “speaks” to Americans, for Americans! With so many of them all having their own show and constantly repeating material of defensive and offensive attacks with NO policy changes. Calling someone a “con man” is hilarious considering they all cast their vote for the worst crooked couple since Bonnie and Clyde. They constantly talk about how dumb Trump and his supporters are while pandering to their audience and cursing in a temper-tantrum like rant. Stop using your feelings and use some damn facts, oh wait…facts are racist. My tip to the Left is this: Find a leader, find a message, find your old values and constituents…or Trump will get elected in 2020.

  4. Leon says:

    First I do not find this woman remotely funny, very similar to Kathy Griffin… no humor, just nasty to those who believe differently than she does. She’s Canadian, so she has no validity to me at all. She’s basically a left winger who think she is funny, and she is so stupid that she fails to see how wrong she and her comments are. Go back to Canada and stay there… I know Canada doesn’t really want you, but …

  5. More like a Full frontal lobotomy!

  6. Rod Roddy says:

    That’s what happens when you’re talking into an echo chamber. Lefties are killing the country. Interesting to watch. Never would have thought they’d end up being the bad guys. Odd times.

  7. Anne says:

    She is obnoxious. It’s strange she even has a show.

  8. Lank Snow says:

    Great political show, telling it like it is! Repugs are not going like the truth, they have been in denial since ronnie raygun was elected. She exposes trumpf for the lies that he tells (must of learned that from his buddy putin),as in, if their lips are moving, THEY ARE LYING!! Four years of this and America will not even be in the top hundred countries worth living in.

    • santino tucci says:

      Obama tried to destroy this country for 8 years and failed. I suspect we can survive someone trying to make America Great Again

  9. Derich Simmons says:

    Does sheever have anything else to talk about besides PRESIDENT TRUMP? The only reason, I’m sure that her ratings finally went up is she got the attention of every cry baby snowflake liberal. Moronic show. Hey Samantha Bee…..Get some new material.

  10. randy says:

    tbs more fake news Samantha bee who is she shame on the media

  11. Robert snape says:

    This lady rock she has the biggest balls in late nite TV

  12. popoxazuy says:

    see more site-*-**-*-*-*-* https://qr.net/thVLgn

    2 weeks $70000 on the laptop…..

  13. The Cornballer says:

    What happened to the ratings in mid-may? That sudden drop

  14. Johnny Edinburgh says:

    Its unwatchable and unfunny, Trump should be a godsend to a competent comedian but she’s hopeless.

  15. millerfilm says:

    Putting “Full Frontal” and “Samantha Bee” in the same tile is absolutely shiver inducing.

  16. Steve says:

    Moving nights to Wednesdays where it enjoys a huge lead-in coming out of a weekly Big Bang Theory block is really the biggest reason for the show’s jump – and it loses upwards of 25% of that lead-in each week. Every one of those spikes in 2016 is from a special Wednesday episode, nestled safely behind The Big Bang Theory. Turner saw that and wisely moved it to the cushier Wednesday time slot. Smart move. But don’t confuse a strategic scheduling change with anything deeper than that. Without the permanent move to Wednesdays, Full Frontal’s increases would be much more in line with what Late Show and Daily Show are seeing. Those bumps are a better measure as they are compared against the same time slot and same days vs. prior year.

  17. shipinabottle says:

    Your graph shows the program peaking at 2.5 billion viewers, that’s pretty good ratings!

  18. Moose says:

    Hoping America fails for ratings. How patriotic and not idiotic or hateful at all.

    • Tim James says:

      Yeah, that’s not what it is, but it surprises absolutely no one that you don’t understand that.

      • Chris says:

        We’re not rooting for America to fail, we’re watching a lunatic fail America.

      • Cooper says:

        Your agenda is clearly the failure of America so you can blame Trump. Don’t try to bullshit it, that’s exactly what you want. All you sorry ass and those like you want is a catastrophe to blame on Trump and spew “I told you so.”

  19. Chris says:

    This is the new daily show, Sam is smart, and so funny she deserves all the success. I guess the idiot in chief deserves some to because if he wasnt doing stupid shit on a daily basis there wouldn’t be as much material for her to work with.

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