NY Post

Late-Night Wars 2.0: Should CBS Be Worried?

Dec 30, 2015  •  Post A Comment

CBS may have cause for concern in late-night, where its “Late Show with Stephen Colbert” has been losing ground to NBC’s “Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon.”

With the dust not yet fully settled on the rebooted late-night wars following the departure of CBS staple David Letterman, NBC’s still relatively new Fallon seems to have cemented his position as the segment front-runner.

The New York Post reports that “Fallon” is averaging 3.9 million total viewers through 12 weeks of the 2015-16 season, to 3.1 million for “Colbert.” ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” also remains in the running, with  2.5 million. “Colbert has succeeded in maintaining Letterman’s second-place ranking, and it was unrealistic to think he could knock off Fallon, who had a year-and-a-half head start (and five years on ‘Late Night’ before that),” the Post notes.

In fact, Colbert has improved on Letterman’s results. The report notes that Colbert was up 32% from the time-slot numbers a year ago through the end of November, while Fallon dipped 3% and Kimmel was off 9%. But the trend as the season has progressed has been “alarming,” the story reports, noting that the gap between “The Late Show” and “The Tonight Show” was 364,000 viewers back in September, when Colbert debuted, and had grown to 1.5 million by the week of Dec. 14.

The report quotes Billie Gold, VP of programming research at media agency Amplifi, saying: “CBS probably does have a reason to worry. The ratings have gone down and I don’t see them going back up. Fallon has widened his lead. [Colbert is] doing worse than had been expected and he’s skewing a lot older than had been expected.”


  1. Yeah disappointed by Colbert… His guests don’t do anything for me either.

  2. I love Colbert who is both funny and bright. Dave lost to Jay for most of his run but Dave left as a legend. Jay left.

  3. I was never very big on Letterman or Leno. Except for an ocasional interesting show here or there, I haven’t been drawn to either of these and even less so to any of the others that have tried to do a late show of some sort. The others don’t even bring to mind an interesting show at all!

    It really makes me wonder about just how valid the data is here.

  4. The producers need to get Colbert better guests. That is what is hurting him the most. All 2nd and 3rd level celebrities

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