Jimmy Fallon’s ‘Tonight Show’ Tops Premiere Week Ratings

Also, ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” gets double-digit viewership boost

Jimmy Fallon tonight show

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.)

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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.

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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.