New Late-Night Battle Lines Drawn: After Colbert’s Big Opening Night on CBS, NBC Toasts Gains by Fallon

Sep 10, 2015  •  Post A Comment

In the wake of CBS’s eagerly anticipated and heavily promoted “Late Show with Stephen Colbert” premiere Tuesday night, NBC has been looking to bring some perspective to the late-night ratings.

The network sent out word today that it scored a partial win with “The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon” on the night after the “Colbert” premiere.

Based on early Nielsen figures for the metered markets, NBC announced that “Tonight” won the key 18-49 demo vs. “Colbert.” Comparing Local People Meter numbers for the two nights, Colbert’s “Late Show” dropped from a 1.5 average rating in the demo Tuesday night to a 0.8 average Wednesday, while “Tonight Show” rose from a 0.8 to a 1.2.

The announcement also notes that ABC’s third-place “Jimmy Kimmel Live” rose slightly, from a 0.4 on Tuesday night to a 0.5 Wednesday.

The metered-market household figures also showed significant movement, although the Colbert program retained the lead in the metric on its second night. The CBS show fell from a 4.9 average rating on opening night to a 3.2, while NBC’s “Tonight” surged from a 2.4 to a 3.1.

NBC announced that the 3.1 average was “Tonight’s” highest metered-market household rating in five months (since a 3.1 on April 8), and was up 19% from the summer average of 2.6.

Going head-to-head in the lead-out position from the flagship late-night shows, NBC’s “Late Night with Seth Meyers” and CBS’s “Late Late Show with James Corden” also went in opposite directions. After both shows scored 0.4 averages in the 18-49 demo Tuesday night, based on Local People Meters, “Late Night” inched up to a 0.5 while “Corden” dipped to a 0.3.

In metered-market household figures, the Seth Meyers program posted a gain from a 1.1 average on Tuesday to a 1.4 on Wednesday, while Corden’s show slipped from a 1.3 to a 1.1.

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  1. Apparently I’m not the only one who thought Colbert’s show was kind of “meh”….

  2. I want to like Colbert’s new show, I really do. However, I thought his first two programs seemed forced (too caffeinated) and not very entertaining. Either it’s poor editing or port writing or Steven has just got to settle down and allow the guests to come be the center of attention. It’s not all about Steve. I stayed with both shows from beginning to end but immediately went to Fallon recorded on my DVR and enjoyed him more.

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