Stephen Colbert is officially the king of late night TV, for now at least, according to The New York Times. Colbert’s Late Show got off to a rough start in 2015 but has been steadily gaining traction on Fallon’s Tonight Show over the last few years. Since February 2017, it has had the edge in total viewership but still lacked in a key demographic, adults under 50.
Well, as of the most recent Nielsen Ratings, that is no longer true. Colbert’s Late Show has pulled in an average 692,000 adult viewers under 50 so far in the 2018-2019 season. That’s just barely enough to beat out Fallon’s average 686,000 viewers of the same age. It’s not a huge lead but it translates into a .01 lead in actual Nielsen rating points. And hey, a win’s a win, right?
NBC has made moves recently to restructure its late night operation and regain some ground on Colbert. In October, they hired veteran TV producer Jim Bell to try and bring some of Fallon’s audience back into the fold. This has worked well as the show has seen a 6% increase in total viewers and a 4% increase in viewers under 50 since then. However, it’s still not enough to pass Colbert as The Late Show saw increases of 10% and 8%, respectively, over the same time period.
The Late Show and The Tonight Show air weeknights on CBS and NBC, respectively.
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