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Late-Night Ratings: Jimmy Kimmel Overtakes Stephen Colbert for First Time

After weeks of lagging CBS’ shiny new “Late Show with Stephen Colbert” in the late-night ratings race, ABC veteran “Jimmy Kimmel Live” is starting to make some noise — edging ahead of original episodes of the Eye program for the first time.

In Nielsen’s “live plus same-day” estimates for the week of Nov. 2-6, which saw NBC’s “Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” remain a dominant No. 1, “Kimmel” bested “Late Show” by 5% in both adults 18-49 rating (0.60 vs. 0.57) and total viewers (2.626 million vs. 2.492 million). The ABC program got a boost on Thursday when a visit by Hillary Clinton produced its most-watched telecast on any night in six months (3.116 million). It also won by 22% in 18-49 over “Late Show” that night (0.73 vs. 0.60).

Jimmy Kimmel Live” was the only 11:35 p.m. talkshow up week to week, rising 6% in 18-49 and 10% in total viewers; the show’s Tuesday averages were excluded due to Election Night coverage. “Tonight,” which averaged a 0.91 in 18-49 and 3.372 million total viewers, and “Late Show” were both down 6% in the demo.

For the first six weeks of Colbert’s stint as host of “The Late Show,” the newcomer beat “Kimmel” on average by about 40% in both adults 18-49 rating (0.73 to 0.52) and total viewers (3.19 million vs. 2.24 million), according to Nielsen. But a weeklong stint hosting from Brooklyn helped “Kimmel” move ahead of “Late Show” repeats during the week of Oct. 19-23. And the ABC program then shaved “Late Show’s” demo advantage to just 7% when all shows were back in originals th week of Oct. 26-30.

News of the breakthrough victory for Kimmel came one day after CBS announced that it would be airing a live episode of “Late Show” following the network’s Super Bowl coverage on Feb. 7.

For NBC, “Tonight Show” last week expanded its lead over “Late Show” to a largest-yet 60% in 18-49 rating (0.91 vs. 0.57). And behind it, “Late Night with Seth Meyers” pulled to within 0.05 of Colbert and 0.08 of Kimmel in 18-49 despite starting an hour later.

Head-to-head, “Late Night” dominated CBS’ “Late Late Show with James Corden,” winning by 73% in adults 18-49 rating (0.52 vs. 0.30) and by 26% in total viewers (1.636 million vs. 1.294 million).

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