In the battle of the late-night Jimmys, Jimmy Fallon took the ratings crown during premiere week this fall — but his ABC rival Jimmy Kimmel got some good news during premiere week too.
NBC’s “The Tonight Show” — which Fallon inherited from Jay Leno earlier this year — came out on top during premiere week, running from Sept. 22 to 26. In the 18-49 demographic most important to advertisers, “Tonight Show” averaged a 1.09 rating/5 share for the week, compared to a 0.69/3 for “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and a 0.57/3 for CBS’s “Late Show With David Letterman.” (The “Late Show” numbers come with an asterisk, as it was delayed by football overrun on the Thursday of premiere week.)
The total viewership numbers tell a similar story — “The Tonight Show” logged an average 3.872 million total viewers for premiere week, versus second-place 2.893 million for “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and 2.738 million for “Late Show.”
Compared to premiere week last year, “The Tonight Show” was up 15 percent in the demo and 5 percent among total viewers.
The silver lining for Kimmel? His “Live” enjoyed a strong year-over-year boost in total viewership. jumping 19 percent over last season’s premiere week. That marked Kimmel’s most-watched premiere week on record, though that also comes with an asterisk: “Jimmy Kimmel Live” only assumed the 11:35 p.m. timeslot in January 2013, making comparisons to premiere weeks prior to then lopsided.
In the demo, Kimmel also grew, logging its best opening-week performance in the demo since 2007.
Kimmel grew for the 2nd straight year in Adults 18-49 (872,000) to its strongest opening-week performance in 7 years – since 2007.