A Sharp Decline for Jimmy Fallon’s ‘Tonight Show’
His program, “The Late Show” on CBS, has taken viewers away from Jimmy Fallon, the cheerful host of NBC’s storied
franchise, who has lost 21 percent of his audience year over year since the fall season began on Sept. 25.
Jimmy Fallon has lost on average about 700,000 total viewers per night in the past year, including
264,000 viewers ages 18 to 49, as Stephen Colbert’s overall viewership has increased.
A year ago, a battle between Mr. Fallon and Mr. Kimmel was almost unimaginable, given the venerable
NBC franchise’s lead of one million total viewers over ABC’s late-night offering.
During the sweeps period, he averaged 3.7 million total viewers a night — a 23 percent increase from a year ago.
Ever since Mr. Colbert leapfrogged Mr. Fallon in total viewers, NBC executives have emphasized that “The Tonight Show” is still the No.
A year ago, Mr. Colbert trailed Mr. Fallon in that demographic by roughly 364,000 viewers.
All three late-night network shows have shed viewers in the 18-to-49 demographic over the last year,
but Mr. Fallon’s program has lost significantly more than the other two.
During the current season, Mr. Kimmel — who, like Mr. Colbert, has made himself into
a politically engaged monologuist — has seen his audience grow by 4 percent.
In the November 2015 sweeps period — which coincided with Mr. Colbert’s shaky start as a network host — Mr. Fallon’s lead was nearly 500,000.