Long gone are the days of a bitter ratings battle between Jay Leno and David Letterman and even the days of a tight race between Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon seem a slightly distant memory.
However, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon has had its best run for younger viewers – those aged 18 to 49 – in a year. The NBC series has been number one or tied with the CBS and ABC show for number one in the demo for the past four weeks – the first time it has reached this point since March 2020.
For the week starting March 15, The Tonight Show and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert were tied with a 0.23 in the demo and Jimmy Kimmel Live! averaged a 0.22. Having said that, Colbert and Kimmel were both in repeats last Friday as Fallon was new.
The week before, the week of March 8, The Tonight Show scored a 0.24 in the demo against Kimmel’s 0.23 and Colbert’s 0.20.
NBC said that The Tonight Show was also leading in the demo for the month of March, 0.24 versus a 0.23 for Kimmel and a 0.22 for Colbert and said season to date Fallon and Colbert are tied in the demo for Monday-Friday.
The ratings figures are good news for 30 Rock and help build a narrative that The Tonight Show is rebounding after a tough four years, where under a Trump Presidency, The Late Show has won the season in viewers for four consecutive years and had its largest victory over The Tonight Show since 1993.
Recent guests on The Tonight Show include Russell Brand, Chelsea Handler, Matthew McConaughey and Andy Cohen, who was the first guest back with a limited audience in the studio.
The Tonight Show numbers are using same day ratings figures.
Across total viewers, Deadline understands that across the last two months since Joe Biden became President, The Tonight Show has been relatively flat, while Colbert and Kimmel are down a couple of percentage points.
Another thing, however, to keep in mind is the low figures for the 18-49 demo, which one executive at a rival network said can go up and down depending on a “rounding error in Iowa”.
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