CBS announced Tuesday that “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” beat NBC’s “Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon” for the fifth consecutive week in total viewers.
The network noted that “Colbert” averaged more than 3 million viewers for the fourth week in a row in the week ending March 3, growing 29% in viewers and 20% in the key 18-49 demo from the same week a year ago. “Fallon” continues to hold a lead in the demo, but “Colbert” appears to be turning things around after a slow start.
A number of observers have made the point that Colbert’s more political focus seems to be catching on in the age of Trump. The New York Post’s Page Six quotes a source saying Fallon is “feeling the pressure.”
“Stephen Colbert is now beating him in a big way and he has to change his format to keep up because he’s losing viewers,” said the source, who adds that Fallon will be getting more political.
“They had to figure out a way to get Trump [into his routine] because he’s too weak on Trump, and viewers are going elsewhere,” the source said. “[He’s been] uncomfortable talking about politics, and that’s not what the people want.”
Another source quoted by The Post said Fallon “is being pushed to be more political. When he was on ‘SNL’ he could be vicious on the ‘Weekend Update’ desk.”
Colbert’s predecessor, David Letterman, suggested in a recent interview that Fallon could have gone after Trump when he had a chance, as we reported earlier this week.
A source quoted by The Post hinted that the numbers might be getting to Fallon. “He freaks out over this. He has to be on top,” the source is quoted saying.