In the two years since Stephen Colbert took over for David Letterman and the late night wars were waged for a new generation, a viewership once dominated by Jimmy Fallon has nearly disappeared. The New York Times is reporting that Fallon’s lead, at one time over 500,000 viewers more than Colbert’s in 2015, has shrunk to just 57,000 amongst the coveted 18-49 demographic. In February, Colbert took the lead in total viewers and hasn’t looked back.
Not only Colbert is catching up on Fallon on the young crowd — to the tune of 23 percent from a year ago — Jimmy Kimmel, who has found new national relevance after his emotional pleas for gun control and national healthcare, is jockeying for second place amongst late night hosts. At one point, Kimmel was a distant third, but the Times points out that he now sits just 200,000 viewers behind Fallon. If Colbert continues to make strides in taking some of Fallon’s hemorrhaging viewers, there’s a possibility Kimmel is the number two late night host this time next year.
Much of this can be credited to Colbert and Kimmel’s hard line on Donald Trump, someone Fallon treats with kid gloves. Look no further than “the hair tussle” to see the line drawn in the sand for many viewers. NBC even took down their clip of the moment.
(Via The New York Times)