Late Night Ratings: NBA Finals Boost ABC’s ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ to 19-Month High

Big numbers from the NBA Finals on ABC helped boost the net’s latenight program “Jimmy Kimmel Live” to its highest-rated night ever in the young-adults demo and its best weekly average in 19 months.

Kimmel, who gains additional exposure at this time of year with his special NBA-themed “Jimmy Kimmel Live Game Night” specials, averaged 1.03 million adults 18-49 (0.81 rating) in latenight for the week of June 8-12, up 25% from the previous week. According to Nielsen, this was the top weekly rating for the program since November 2013.

The two NBA nights of “JKL,” both of which started later than usual due to the late-running basketball, were the week’s top two latenight telecasts in 18-49. Thursday’s show, following Game 4 of the NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors, set a series record for the 12-year-old “Jimmy Kimmel Live” with 1.755 million adults 18-49. And Tuesday’s “JKL,” which aired after Game 3 of the Finals, drew 1.463 million in the demo.

(“Jimmy Kimmel Live” should set another nightly record with its show on Tuesday of this week, which followed the Warriors’ title-clinching victory in Game 6. That program averaged a 2.0 major-market rating in Nielsen’s People Meters, up from a 1.35 average for the previous week’s Tuesday/Thursday shows on the basketball nights.)

NBC’s “Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” still prevailed in adults 18-49 for the week of June 8-12, with its average nightly audience of 1.105 million besting “Jimmy Kimmel Live” (1.030 million) by about 7%. This was the closest finish to date for “Kimmel,” which won among all latenight talkshows last week in adults 18-34 (433,000, 0.64 rating).

ABC’s “Nightline” also benefited from the NBA Finals and higher-rated “Kimmel,” with Thursday’s edition drawing the program’s largest audience in both adults 25-54 (1.184 million) and adults 18-49 (1.084 million) since it moved to its later timeslot in January 2013. And for the week, the show averaged 1.632 million total viewers, hit a five-month high in 25-54 (767,000) and a season high in 18-49 (649,000).

The NBA Finals finished with their highest average 18-49 rating (7.6) in 11 years (Pistons-Lakers on ABC) and its largest overall audience (19.94 million) in 17 years (Bulls-Jazz on NBC).

CBS, meanwhile, continues to lag “Tonight Show” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live” with its “CBS Summer Showcase” of crime drama repeats. Last week, encores of “Hawaii Five-0” averaged a 0.43 rating in adults 18-49, vs. a 0.87 for “Tonight” and a 0.81 for “Kimmel.” “CBS Summer Showcase” was more competitive in total viewers (2.37 million), with “Tonight” averaging 3.26 million and “Kimmel” drawing 2.67 million.

And in the 12:35 a.m. hour, CBS “Late Late Show with James Corden” (0.23 rating in 18-49) finished well behind NBC’s “Late Night with Seth Meyers” (0.42). In total viewers, the NBC program drew 1.33 million while the CBS show averaged 1.12 million.

WEEK’S TOP LATENIGHT PROGRAMS*
(Adults 18-49 rating; live plus same-day)

1.  Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (NBC, 11:35) …….  0.87
2.  Jimmy Kimmel Live (ABC, 11:35)**……………………….. 0.81
3.  Nightline (ABC, 12:35)**……………………………………. 0.51
4.  CBS Summer Showcase (CBS, 11:35) ………………….. 0.43
5.  Late Night With Seth Meyers (NBC, 12:35) ……………… 0.42
6.  Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Comedy, 11) …………….. 0.38
7.  Last Call with Carson Daly (NBC) ……………………….. 0.25
8.  Conan (TBS, 11) …………………………………………… 0.24
9.  Late Late Show with James Corden (CBS) ……………… 0.23
9.  Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore (Comedy, 11:30)  ……. 0.23
Source: Nielsen (each ratings point represents roughly 1.27 million viewers in the demo)

* weeknights only; NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” encore averaged a 0.91
**start delayed on Tuesday and Thursday due to NBA Finals

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