The Late Show With Stephen Colbert finished first in late-night ratings for the week ending May 5, with its biggest margin since the show’s launch.
Not coincidentally, last week was Colbert’s Welcome to Broadcast TV week, though the show launched in September 2015. But it was last week he learned the difference between hosting a Comedy Central show and one on CBS when he hurled insults at POTUS Donald Trump on his show, because Trump had hurled insults at CBS newsman John Dickerson and, Colbert explained to Trump in absentia, that’s “the Tiffany Way.” You know what else is the Tiffany Way? Pundits, like Michael Smerconish, also exhuming that half-century-old CBS brand to scold Colbert for making an oral sex joke that would not have raised an eyebrow had it been delivered on HBO or Comedy Central.
Late Show averaged 3.06 million viewers, which is up 12% compared previous week’s 2.74M and 19% compared to same week last year before Trump became POTUS and Colbert’s show caught fire. It topped NBC’s The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (2.65M) by 410K viewers, marking the first time CBS beat Tonight in viewers for 14 weeks since the period between the weeks ending October 16, 2009, and January 15, 2010, when the CBS show was hosted by David Letterman.
In the 18-49 age bracket, Colbert clocked his closest-yet numbers relative to Fallon, with 99K demo viewers separating the two. Same week last year, Colbert had trailed Fallon by 385K viewers in the demo.
Two nights after delivering Monday’s radioactive monologue, Colbert had breathed new life into it, telling viewers one Donald Dis might have been a bit rough, language-wise, though he stood by the sentiment. And when reporters who cover television learned the FCC had gotten complaints, duh, and would look into the late-night broadcast, per protocol, the story grew even more legs. It’s still going strong this week, including CNN’s politics reporter Chris Cillizza’s new theory that media hysteria over news FCC is looking at the matter proves the Trump administration is turning liberals into conspiracy theorists.