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Friday
Mar172017

Colbert New King of Late Night Televison

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert remained the highest-rated late-night show for a sixth week in a row, though The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon still had a slight edge in the 18-49 demo despite being in repeats. For the week of March 6th, The Late Show drew 3.23 million viewers, its largest weekly audience since Colbert’s first week as host in September 2015. According to the New York Post, that helped give CBS its longest winning streak in late-night since the 2009-2010 season during David Letterman’s tenure while Conan O’Brien was hosting The Tonight Show.

The CBS program was up from 3 million viewers for the previous week, though it remained flat in the demo with a 0.55 rating, slightly behind The Tonight Show’s 0.6, but above the 0.49 rating for Jimmy Kimmel Live, which also took third place in total viewership with 2.28 million viewers in the time slot compared to the 2.47 million weekly average for The Tonight Show encores.

Colbert’s ratings bump is even helping The Late Late Show with James Corden, which had the biggest increase of the week from a 0.30 to a 0.35 demo rating, along with 1.44 million viewers, giving it a rare win over Late Night with Seth Meyers in both measures, though the NBC show was also in reruns.

Elsewhere, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah dipped from a solid 0.35 rating to a 0.32 on Comedy Central, averaging just under 1 million viewers, while Conan increased from a 0.23 to a 0.27 in the 18-49 demo.

Colbert has undoubtedly benefited from a Donald Trump presidency, along with other liberal-leaning shows like Full Frontal with Samantha BeeReal Time with Bill Maher and The Rachel Maddow Show, which was the highest-rated cable news program last week. The MSNBC show likely got a big bump this week (Nielsen ratings have been delayed due to a power outage) thanks to a much-hyped episode where she unveiled one year of Trump’s tax returns (Update: The show had its highest-rated episode ever with 4.1 million viewers and a 1.0 demo rating per Vulture). But her long drawn out announcement has received plenty of backlash, and was even parodied by Colbert in Wednesday’s Late Show cold open.

The ratings for The Late Show are a huge turnaround from last fall when the series hit an all-time low since Colbert succeeded Letterman, falling to a 0.36 rating and just 1.98 million viewers in September of last year. But things have been on the upswing since the beginning of 2017, especially since Trump’s inauguration, as viewers starting tuning in in droves to watch Colbert mercilessly mock the president’s every move.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Fallon has seen a precipitous drop in the ratings since last season, fueling speculation that liberals abandoned his show after his chummy interview with then-candidate Trump, prompting reports that NBC is urging the comedian to get more political in his sketches and opening monologue as a way to keep up with Colbert.

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert airs weeknights at 11:35 p.m. on CBS. However, the late-night series is off the next two nights thanks to March Madness.

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