‘Fallon’ Debut, Kimmel ‘Bachelor’ Interview Boost Late-Night Ratings

Mar 12, 2009  •  Post A Comment

NBC had a solid week in late night as viewers tuned in to see the debut of “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.” Competing networks held their ground, however, leading to win-win results for all.
In its first week out, “Fallon” averaged a 0.9 rating/5 share among adults 18-49 and 2.4 million viewers, beating the debut weeks for late-night shows hosted by Craig Ferguson (January 2005; 0.8 rating, 2 million), Craig Kilborn (March-April 1999; 0.7, 1.5 million), Tom Snyder (January 1995; 0.8, 1.7 million) and Jimmy Kimmel (January 2003; 0.8, 1.7 million).
“Fallon” edged out CBS’ “Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson” and ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on all five nights last week during their competitive half-hour in both viewers 18-49 and total viewers. Overall, “Fallon” was up 26% from “Late Night’s” season-to-date average in the demo and up 21% among total viewers. (Note: “Kimmel” starts at 12:05 a.m., while both “Ferguson” and “Fallon” start at 12:35 a.m.)
NBC’s “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” also had a strong week, averaging a 1.5 in the demo and 1.9 million viewers, its best showing since February 2008. “Leno” is outperforming CBS’ “Late Night With David Letterman” by 24% in the demo and 29% among viewers for the season to date.
“Fallon’s” success in its first week out did not appear to have a direct effect on other late-night programs.
“Kimmel” logged the series’ fourth largest week in average viewers in its seven-year history. The March 2 episode alone, which featured “The Bachelor’s” Jason Mesnick, gave the show its biggest audience ever with 3.18 million viewers, edging out “Fallon’s” premiere episode (2.9 million).
For the week, “Kimmel” averaged a 0.6/3 in the demo and 2.0 million viewers, while “Ferguson” averaged a 0.6/3 and 1.9 million viewers.
Compared with last year, “Ferguson” remained flat among viewers 18-49 for the week but posted a 10% gain among total viewers. Similarly, the CBS franchise’s performance for the season to date is flat from last year but up 10% in total viewers.
Not to be ignored, ABC’s “Nightline” has also shown year-over-year growth. Total viewership for “Nightline” March 2-6 was nearly 4 million, up 21% from the same week last year. In the key viewers 25-54 demographic, the news program has posted a 10 % increase from the same week last year. For the season to date, “Nightline” is up 14% in total viewers and 5% among adults 25-54.

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