Ratings: Fallon Stays on Top in Newsy Week for Letterman, Kimmel

NBC program was the only show up vs. last year in 18-49

Jimmy Fallon Ratings

Jimmy Kimmel and David Letterman made more news last week, but they were still no ratings match for Jimmy Fallon.

In its seventh week, NBC’s “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” still easily beat ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and CBS’ “Late Show With David Letterman” — and, impressively, showed demo gains vs. the comparable week a year ago while the other guys were down.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, “Tonight Show” averaged 3.829 million viewers for the week of March 31-April 4, beating out “Late Show” (2.916 million) and “Kimmel” (2.513 million). All three shows were up in these overall-audience figures, with “Tonight” rising 6%, “Late Show” up 8% and “Kimmel” up 5%.

Letterman saw a ratings surge on Thursday when he announced his retirement, and Kimmel had a strong Wednesday with President Clinton as guest. But while these nights helped close the gap between Fallon and the others, it was not nearly enough to change the latenight rankings.

Fallon has been especially strong in the adults 18-49 demo, and compared to the same week a year ago “Tonight Show” was up 46% in 18-49 rating vs. the Leno-hosted program of last year (1.18 vs. 0.81). On the other hand, despite their atypical boosts last week, “Late Show” declined by 5% (0.63 vs. 0.66) and “Kimmel” was down 10% (0.66 vs. 0.73) from their year-ago demo rating.

In the 12:35 a.m. hour, “Late Night With Seth Meyers” bested CBS’ “Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson” in 18-49 rating (0.59 vs. 0.32) and total viewers (1.627 million vs. 1.420 million). It also won in their common half hour over ABC’s “Nightline” in all key categories.

For its half-hour, the Alphabet news program averaged a 0.38 rating in adults 18-49 and 1.629 million total viewers — down a smidge in the demo and up 12% in total viewers vs. the same week a year ago.