×

Young Viewers Drawn to Jimmy Fallon on NBC’s ‘Tonight Show’

NBC program is skewing younger while its rivals have aged up

In its second week, and its first in its regular timeslot, NBC’s “Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” delivered more impressive numbers, especially among the youngest of adults.

According to Nielsen nationals released Thursday, the addition of L+3 time-shifted viewing (DVR playback within three days) has lifted the average audience of “Tonight” for the week of Feb. 24-28 to the show’s third largest tally (6.404 million) since the first week of Conan O’Brien as host in 2009.

The only weeks to draw better were Fallon’s first week (8.49 million from Feb. 17-21 for its episodes starting at 12:05 a.m. due to Olympics coverage on NBC) and Jay Leno’s final week (8.29 million for its four nights, Feb. 10-13).

In same-night results, “Tonight Show” last week delivered a larger audience (5.451 million viewers) than the combined totals of “Late Show With David Letterman” on CBS (2.728 million) and “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on ABC (2.632 million). And the NBC program was even more dominant among adults 18-49, with its 2.243 million viewers in the demo well more than the combined tallies of second-place “Kimmel” (828,000) and third-place “Late Show” (682,000).

In the demo, “Tonight” more than doubled its performance during the same week a year ago (with Leno as host) while Kimmel was 9% lower and Letterman was off by 17%. “Jimmy Kimmel” did post year-over-year gains in total viewers (2.63 million vs. 2.48 million) while “Late Show” limited its loss to 4% — with both shows seeming to have picked up some of Leno’s followers.

Fallon’s program attracted a median age of 52.7 (down from the 58.4 for “Tonight” a year ago with Leno), compared to 56.2 for Kimmel’s (up from 53.7 last year) and 59.2 for Letterman’s (up from 57.2).

This young skew was especially evident when looking at viewership in the younger half of the 18-49 demo (18-34), a category in which “Tonight Show” (991,000 viewers) drew more than three times the audience of “Jimmy Kimmel Live” (300,000) and more than four times that of “Late Show” (216,000).

Following Fallon’s second week on “Tonight,” the premiere week of “Late Night With Seth Meyers” averaged 3.011 million total viewers, including roughly 1.4 million in the 18-49 demo. It was the second most-watched “Late Night” week, behind Fallon’s final week, since before the era of DVR time-shifting, back to early May 2004.

The median age for “Late Night” was 49.8, according to Nielsen.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • TV News Roundup: Netflix Drops Trailer

    TV News Roundup: Netflix Drops Trailer for Ryan Murphy's 'The Politician' (Watch)

    In today’s TV news roundup, Netflix has drops the first trailer for “The Politician,” and “Killing Eve” adds two to its cast for season 3.  CASTING Harriet Walter and Danny Sapani, both alums of “The Crown,” are set to join the cast of “Killing Eve” for its third season. British writer Suzanne Heathcote, whose past credits include [...]

  • Lady Gaga

    Variety Earns 14 Folio: Eddie & Ozzie Award Nominations

    Variety has received 14 Folio: Eddie & Ozzie award nominations for its coverage of the entertainment industry over the past year. The awards gala, which will take place at The Hilton Midtown in New York City on Oct. 30, celebrates publications that have demonstrated impressive investigative journalism, in addition to thoughtful digital and print design. [...]

  • Disneyland

    Disney Shares Slip Amid Reported Whistleblower Allegations of Inflated Revenue

    Sandra Kuba, a former senior financial analyst for Disney’s revenue operations unit, says she has filed a series of whistleblower tips with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, alleging that the entertainment conglomerate repeatedly and systematically overstated its revenue for years, according to a MarketWatch report, by as much as $6 billion in a single [...]

  • Bob Bakish Joe Ianniello

    ViacomCBS Sets Board Members; Bob Bakish, Joe Ianniello New Deals Disclosed

    ViacomCBS has unveiled the 13 members of its board of directors and details of new employment contracts for president-CEO Bob Bakish and CBS chairman-CEO Joe Ianniello. The disclosure came Monday in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, six days after Viacom and CBS at long last set an all-stock merger agreement valued at [...]

  • Carrie Underwood, left, and Reba McEntire

    CMAs Make Hosting Change: Brad Paisley Exits, Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire Are In

    The CMA Awards have had the most consistent hosting situation of any music awards show in television, but 11 years after installing Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood as the reliable faces of the telecast, even ABC and the Country Music Association have decided it’s time for a switch. Come Nov. 13, Underwood will return for [...]

  • Ava Max iHeartRadio Wango Tango, Portraits,

    Megan Thee Stallion, CNCO, Ava Max to Perform at VMAs Pre-show

    CNCO, Megan Thee Stallion and “Sweet but Psycho” singer Ava Max (pictured) have been added to the performer lineup at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards. The three will take the stage during the VMAs’ red carpet pre-show, hosted by Terrence J and Nessa. Zara Larsson will join the two hosts as a special correspondent. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content