You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

NBC’s ‘Tonight Show’ Has Best May in Demos Since 2009; Solid Sweep for ABC’s ‘Jimmy Kimmel’

Three months into his run, Jimmy Fallon continues to produce strong numbers for NBC’s “Tonight Show,” which has finished May with its best demo performance in the sweep month in five years.

While “Tonight” surged more than 30% above its year-ago average with Jay Leno as host, it was up “just” a bit in total viewers — but that’s a tradeoff NBC will gladly take.

“Tonight’s” prime competitor, ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” had a pretty good month too, retaining most of its year-ago demo audience — despite the stronger young-adult competition from Fallon — while gaining in total viewers. Kimmel, in fact, drew its largest-ever overall audience for a May sweep.

Looking at the live plus same-day Nielsen estimates for the April 24-May 21 sweep, “Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” averaged a 1.14 rating in adults 18-49, up 34% from last year’s 0.85 rating with Leno. It was followed by ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel” (0.62, down 5%) and CBS’ “Late Late Show With David Letterman” (0.53, down 13%).

In total viewers, “Tonight” was up 2% from last year (3.599 million vs. 3.515 million), and comfortably ahead of CBS’ “Late Show” (2.748 million, down 1%) and ABC’s “Kimmel” (2.667 million, up 8%). Both Kimmel and Letterman seem to have picked up some viewers 50 and older who had been watching Leno.

The net result is that the overall audience for the three 11:35 p.m. talkshows was a combined 9.014 million — up 3% from May 2013. And in adults 18-49, the broadcast talkshows combined for a 9% higher rating (2.29 vs. 2.11).

For “Kimmel,” the 2.667 million is the show’s second largest average for a sweeps month (behind November 2013).

In the 12:35 a.m. timeslot, NBC’s “Late Night With Seth Meyers” finished on top with a 0.58 rating in adults 18-49 (up 14% from last year with Fallon as host). CBS’ “Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson” logged a 0.34 rating (down 8%). ABC’s half-hour “Nightline” did a 0.41 rating (down 5%).

In total viewers, “Nightline” was the most-watched program starting at 12:35 a.m. (1.682 million), rising 4% from last year. NBC’s “Late Night” (1.601 million) was down 6% from last year (and edged ahead of the ABC news series in their common half-hour), while CBS’ “Late Late Show” (1.386 million) grew 3%.

At 1:35 a.m., NBC’s “Last Call With Carson Daly” did a 0.35 rating in adults 18-49 and 950,000 total viewers — up vs. May 2013 by 25% and 9% respectively.

More TV

  • Jussie SmollettFOX 'Empire' TV show panel,

    Jussie Smollett Case: Chicago Police Arrest Two Suspects

    Chicago police confirmed on Friday that they have arrested two suspects in the case of “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett. The police did not state what charges the men are being held on. Local media have identified the men as two brothers from Nigeria, though law enforcement has not confirmed their identities. Smollett’s representatives have declined [...]

  • Skyline of Doha at night with

    Qatar's beIN Rallies Support From U.S. Companies Against Pirate Broadcaster beoutQ

    Qatari powerhouse beIN Media Group has rallied support from American sports and entertainment entities, including Discovery and Fox, behind its request that the U.S. government place Saudi Arabia on its watch list of top intellectual property offenders. The Doha-based broadcaster, a state-owned spinoff of Al Jazeera news network, accuses the Saudi government of harboring pirate broadcaster [...]

  • NBC Expands Scripted Leadership Team With New Hire, Promotions

    NBC Expands Scripted Leadership Team With New Hire, Promotions

    NBC’s scripted network executive team is getting a little bigger. The company has brought on former Warner Horizon Television exec Lisa Roos as its new senior vice president of drama development. NBC also promoted programming exec Deepak Jesrani to senior VP of drama development and elevated Mike Nunes to senior VP of current programming. “This [...]

  • Johnathan Nieves Jessica Garza

    'Penny Dreadful: City of Angels' Adds Jessica Garza, Johnathan Nieves

    The upcoming Showtime drama “Penny Dreadful: City of Angels” has cast both Jessica Garza and Johnathan Nieves in series regular roles, Variety has learned. They join previously announced cast member Daniel Zovatto. Described as a spiritual descendant of the original “Penny Dreadful,” the new series opens in 1938 Los Angeles, a time and place deeply infused with [...]

  • ‘The Desert’ Survival Format Launches as

    ITV, Talpa Present ‘The Desert’ Survival Format as Buyers Converge on U.K. Screenings

    It’s post-Berlin and pre-Cannes and the focus of the international TV business has shifted to London as the major distribution outfits present their new wares to buyers. ITV Studios was up Friday and showed buyers its unscripted lineup. Highlights included “The Desert,” a new desert-based survival format from the Middle East division of “The Voice” [...]

  • Ciarán Hinds as John Franklin, Tobias

    AMC Eyes Moving Channels to Spain Post-Brexit

    AMC is looking at moving its European channel licenses from the U.K. to Spain if Brexit hits hard. Currently, licenses registered with U.K. regulator Ofcom are valid throughout the 28-nation European Union. But if Britain leaves the E.U. next month without a framework for a trade deal – as is increasingly likely, with no agreement in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content