“The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” claimed its largest margin of victory in total viewers ever for the week ending Aug. 4, according to Nielsen data.
The CBS late night series averaged 3.2 million viewers for the week, compared to “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon’s” 2.3 million viewers, meaning Colbert topped Fallon by 39% in the measure. Colbert was also up 35% in viewers compared to the same week last year.
However, Fallon is still the top dog in adults 18-49, hitting a 0.6 rating for the week compared to a 0.5 for Colbert. Colbert’s win in viewers and Fallon’s win in the key demo continues the trend the two late-night hosts have found themselves in for months now.
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 an 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.'”