UPDATE: In fast national estimates from Nielsen, “The Late Show” averaged 4.56 million viewers overall — its largest audience since premiere night — to easily lead late-night over “Tonight Show” (3.38 million) and “Jimmy Kimmel” (2.53 million). There was no change in 18-49 rating, with both the CBS and NBC programs earning a 1.0 rating. “Late Show” held the edge in adults 18-34 (1.0 vs. 0.8).
Presidential hopefuls continue to be a boon for late-night television, with Donald Trump’s visit to “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” helping jump-start the nascent CBS program to its highest ratings since opening night.
In Nielsen’s 25 markets with Local People Meters, “Late Show” earned a 1.0 overnight rating in adults 18-49 to move up to a tie with NBC’s “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” which had won the last nine nights outright. ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” (0.6) ranked third.
“Late Show” figures to win the night in total viewers, with its overnight household rating/share (3.7/10) comfortably ahead of “Tonight Show” (2.8/7). The CBS program has finished on top in the overnights on five occasions in its first 11 nights (though “Tonight” has won some of those in national total-viewer averages).
“Late Show” was up a big 42% vs. the comparable night a year ago, and Tuesday’s 3.7 is well above the show’s average (2.64) in the nights since its premiere did a 4.9 on Sept. 8. The 3.7 overnight rating is also a tick above the 3.6 that “Tonight Show” did when Trump visited on Sept. 11 (a Friday), while its 18-49 prelim rating was a bit below what the NBC program did that night (1.0 vs. 1.2).
Earlier this week, a visit by Carly Fiorina helped drive NBC’s “Tonight Show” to its top Monday overnight household rating (3.2/8 share) in 18 months.