UPDATED With Fast Nationals 11:03 AM: An estimated 4.5 million viewers tuned in to see Donald Trump’s appearance on NBC’s Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (unless, of course, they were more interested in the other guests, Terrence Howard and Pharrell Williams, but probably not). With a 1.15 in 18-49 rating, the episode marked Tonight’s highest-rated Friday telecast in 18-49 since February 27 (also a 1.15) and its best Friday in overall viewership since February 20 (4.8 million).
The Trump episode marked Fallon’s biggest total-viewer margin (28%) over CBS’s four-day-old The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (Colbert’s Tuesday night debut beat Fallon by 55%, then slipped each night to second place by margins of 11%, 10% and Friday’s 28%. Friday’s Colbert, with guest Amy Schumer, was watched by 3.5 million.
Still, CBS reminds everyone that, with its whopping debut, Late Show was the week’s top late night program in viewers and tied for first in 18-34, and that viewership was up by 96% (4.5m from 2.3m) over the same Letterman-hosted week last year.
NBC counters that Tonight, despite the Colbert ballyhoo, was the top late night program for the week in adult 18-49, and finished within 12% of Colbert’s total viewership for the week.
Fallon’s numbers might have helped Late Night with Seth Meyers, too, with Meyers topping CBS’s Late Late Show with James Corden in both 18-49 and total viewers. For the week, Late Night averaged a 0.57 in 18-49 (63% over Corden) and 1.7 viewers overall (21%, ditto).
7:21 AM: Jimmy Fallon trumped Stephen Colbert again last night, with no small help from a certain Republican presidential front-runner. Friday’s The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on NBC scored a 3.6 /9 result in metered market ratings, while CBS’s The Late Show With Stephen Colbert was at 2.8/7.
CBS says that despite the Trump competition, Late Show maintained its 18-49 (0.8) and 18-34 (0.6) ratings in the 25 metered markets from the prior night. Colbert’s 2.8/7 was up +47% from the same night last year when David Letterman was at the desk.
ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel took the No. 3 spot with 1.6/4.
Fallon grew night to night for a third straight night in metered-market households (2.4 on Tuesday, 3.1 on Wednesday, 3.3 on Thursday, 3.6 on Friday) and for the first time beat Colbert in metered-market households. Nationally, Tonight topped Late Show in total viewers on Tuesday and Wednesday.
NBC notes that Fallon scored the show’s highest metered-market household rating for a Friday in 18 months (Feb. 28, 2014, 3.8), and jumped +38% above its summer average through Sept. 7 (3.6 vs. 2.6).
In addition to Trump, Fallon’s guests Friday included Terrence Howard and musical guest Pharrell Williams.