Look, Stephen Colbert admits it: He met with the Russians. Many Russians, over the course of a week. But they only talked about adoption. Still, the resulting “Russia Week” on CBS’ Late Show averaged 2.87M viewers in L+SD for the week ending July 21, giving the show its largest margin of victory in late-night since Colbert’s first week as host.
Late Show beat its closest rival, NBC’s The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, by 19% in viewers (2.87M to 2.42M), a margin of 450,000 that made it his easiest win in 22 months. The “Russia Week” shows from Colbert’s trip to Moscow and St. Petersburg drove viewership up 14% compared with the same week in 2016.
Colbert, of course, owes much of his ratings success to his nightly takedowns of President Donald Trump and his not-so-merry men. There will be no shortage of comedy fodder coming out of Washington again this week and the GOP votes on a phantom health care bill, Trump gears up to pink-slip his loyalist attorney general, and Vladimir Putin is treated for blisters that resulted from patting himself on the back.
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