Jimmy Fallon has topped Stephen Colbert in late-night ratings for the first time since Donald Trump has been president. But the NBC comic might want to keep the champagne on ice.
The Nielsen company said that Fallon’s “Tonight” show averaged 2.66 million viewers last week, a whisker above the 2.62 million achieved by Colbert’s “Late Show.” CBS’ Colbert, with his sharp anti-Trump humor, eclipsed long-time leader Fallon the week after Trump’s January inauguration and hasn’t looked back.
NBC’s comparatively strong prime-time schedule in the summer may have helped; CBS has been airing mostly reruns lately in prime time. CBS also aired Colbert reruns on Thursday and Friday that were excluded in the ratings. The network believes it would have won if Colbert aired original shows on those nights, and that it will win when people who watch on a time-delayed basis are later counted in.
NBC won the week in prime time behind its summer hit, “America’s Got Talent,” and the companion series “World of Dance.”
Fox was nearly invisible in the prime-time ratings, with its long-running “So You Think You Can Dance” supplanted by NBC in the hoofer competition.
NBC averaged 4.6 million viewers for the week, CBS had 4.3 million, ABC had 3.6 million, Fox had 2 million, Univision had 1.4 million, ION Television had 1.32 million, Telemundo had 1.26 million and the CW had 760,000.
Fox News Channel was the week’s most popular cable network, averaging 2.4 million viewers in prime time. ESPN had 1.57 million viewers, MSNBC had 1.49 million, USA had 1.48 million and HGTV had 1.46 million.
ABC’s “World News Tonight” topped the evening newscasts with an average of 7.7 million viewers. NBC’s “Nightly News” had 7.5 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 5.9 million.
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