×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Stephen Colbert’s ‘Late Show’ Tops Jimmy Fallon’s ‘Tonight Show’ in 2016-2017 Season Ratings

Stephen Colbert’s “Late Show” has officially overtaken Jimmy Fallon’s “Tonight Show” in the ratings for the 2016-2017 season.

With three nights left in the traditional September to May season, Colbert’s CBS late-night show is averaging 3.195 million viewers per episode, compared to Fallon’s 3.173 on NBC, according to Nielsen data through May 19. Colbert’s victory marks CBS’ first late night win since the 1994-1995 season, excluding 2009-2010 when NBC replaced Conan O’Brien with Jay Leno midway through the season. “The Late Show” was also the only late-night program to post year-to-year growth in total viewers, up 11% from 2.89m.

There are some caveats worth mentioning, however. Fallon is still the late-night king of adults 18-49. To date, Fallon is averaging a 0.81 rating in the key demo, compared to Colbert’s 0.58, meaning Fallon enjoys a 33% advantage over his nearest competition in that measure, which is the measure most important to advertisers. In addition, it should be noted that late-night shows typically run all year, not just from September to May.

The two hosts have been going head-to-head in the ratings for months. Colbert’s viewership numbers have surged ever since the election of Donald Trump, with Colbert’s pointedly political comedy resonating strongly with viewers in Trump’s America. Some have also pointed to the now infamous moment in September on “The Tonight Show” when Fallon ruffled then-candidate Trump’s hair as the moment viewers began to change the channel. Fallon received criticism for being playful with Trump and opting to ask softball questions rather than press him on various controversial statements he had made on the campaign trail.

“I didn’t do it to humanize him,” Fallon said in a recent interview with The New York Times. “I almost did it to minimize him. I didn’t think that would be a compliment: ‘He did the thing that we all wanted to do.'”

Of course, Colbert’s rise has not been without controversy as well. He was accused of homophobia earlier this month over a joke he made at Trump’s expense, saying the only thing the President’s mouth was good for was “being Vladimir Putin’s c–k holster.” Colbert responded to the controversy during his opening monologue later that same week, saying he regretted his choice of words but stopped short of an apology.

“So while I would do it again, I would change a few words that were cruder than they needed to be,” he said. “I’m not going to repeat the phrase, but I just want to say for the record, life is short, and anyone who expresses their love for another person, in their own way, is to me, an American hero. I think we can all agree on that. I hope even the president and I can agree on that. Nothing else. But, that.”

More TV

  • A.P. BIO -- "Melvin" Episode 208

    'AP Bio' Canceled After Two Seasons at NBC

    “AP Bio” has been canceled at NBC. Series creator Mike O’Brien shared the news with fans on Twitter, writing that “This has been my favorite project of my life.” In the single-camera comedy, Glenn Howerton portrayed a disgraced Harvard philosophy scholar who lost out on his dream job and was forced to return to Toledo, [...]

  • James Holzhauer $2 million

    'Jeopardy!' Champion James Holzhauer Hits $2 Million Winnings Milestone

    This current “Jeopardy!” player has just won over $2 million on the popular game show. Who is James Holzhauer? The 34 year old professional sports gambler from Las Vegas has hit a “Jeopardy!” milestone by becoming only the second person in the show’s history to win over $2 million in regular season play. Holzhauer won [...]

  • Kanye West Shares a Memory of

    Kanye West Shares a Touching Memory of His Mother in Letterman Interview

    In a preview of David Letterman’s interview with Kanye West, which begins streaming next Friday, May 31, the musician’s wife Kim Kardashian West, tweeted a clip of him sharing a touching memory of his mother, Donda, who died in 2007 after a surgical procedure. While his wife looks on smiling, West answers Letterman’s question about [...]

  • CNN Lays Off Some Health Journalism

    CNN Lays Off Some Health Journalism Staffers

    CNN has laid off a handful of staffers from its health-journalism unit after deciding to place its health, climate and Southeastern newsgathering operations under a single aegis. ” As part of the normal course of business, our newsgathering team made a small restructure earlier this week that ultimately impacts 6-7 employees within CNN’s Health Unit,” [...]

  • Henry Ian Cusick

    'Lost' Star Henry Ian Cusick Signs With Buchwald (EXCLUSIVE)

    Henry Ian Cusick, best known for playing Desmond on the hit ABC series “Lost,” is signing with talent agency Buchwald for representation. Cusick also starred in the CW sci-fi/drama “The 100” and was most recently seen in the Fox series “The Passage.” His other notable television credits include “Scandal,” “24,” “Fringe,” “The Mentalist,” “Body of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content