Jimmy Kimmel's second night in the 11:35 p.m. timeslot was a ratings dogfight.
Jay Leno won on Tuesday, Kimmel's first night in the timeslot, in the total ratings and key demos, with Kimmel coming in second.
On Wednesday, both Leno and David Letterman beat Kimmel in total viewers. But in the key demographics, it was a closer contest.
in the 18-49 demo most important to advertisers, both Leno and Kimmel had a .9 rating, followed by a .8 for Letterman.
In the 25-54 demo usually used to measure news and late-night shows, Leno scored a 1.2, Kimmel a 1.1, and Letterman a 1.0.
ABC entertainment president Paul Lee said Thursday that the network is happy with Kimmel's numbers on his first two nights.
"There's no question that Jimmy has come out strong and shown that he's going to be competitive in that timeslot," he said.
Kimmel is benefitting from some curiosity about how he'll do in his new, earlier timeslot, just as Conan O'Brien did when he took over "The Tonight Show." But he also has to overcome the disadvantages of Leno and Letterman viewers who have watched them at 11:35 for years.
More to come…