Since Donald Trump’s been in the White House (among other places), his most popular nightly critic has been Stephen Colbert and the Late Show host has enjoyed an impressive win streak over his bedtime TV peers. After getting off to a somewhat muddled start, Colbert has gotten into his groove and viewers have flocked from Tonight Show ringleader Jimmy Fallon’s NBC haunt to his CBS rival. As a new weekly ratings report makes its appearance it looks like Fallon’s in first place again. At least for now.
The Associated Press reports that the Tonight Show averaged 2.66 million viewers last week. Colbert’s Late Show? 2.62 million viewers according to the Nielsen data. The allure of seeing Fallon in a nice lil’ television host mustache could be the cause for the rankings shuffle, but as the AP notes, there are a pair of factors to consider when looking at last week’s numbers. For one, Colbert not doing new shows on Thursday and Friday meant he had only three original episodes to work with. On top of that, NBC has been serving up a lot more new content than CBS has this summer and that sort of network synergy (Jack Donaghy’s influence still reigns!) can be an effective way of ushering people to the post 11:35 programming.
To borrow a sports talk cliche, the recent Fallon win is a small sample size to pull from to determine if the Tonight Show will return as king of the late night ratings mountain. Things could switch next week or Fallon rises again or a mummified Jack Paar could strangle them both and you’d have to put asterisks on the board. As long as this ratings jousting leads to great TV, we’re cool with it.
(Via Associated Press)