8:43am PT by Michael O'Connell
TV Ratings: Colbert Nabs Biggest Audience Victory Since Premiere Week, Narrows Demo Gap
Stephen Colbert's ratings rise continues. And his latest viewership win is his biggest yet.
For the week of March 27, Colbert's ninth atop broadcast's late-night rankings, The Late Show averaged nearly 3 million viewers each night — averaging 400,000 more viewers for the week than Jimmy Fallon on NBC. (Tonight, it's worth noting, did air a repeat Friday.) The last time Colbert had such a wide margin of victory over Fallon was the week he kicked off his CBS tenure in 2015.
Word of Colbert's audience uptick is not exactly breaking news. The CBS late-night host, who's seen significant improvement since fall's election, finished the first quarter of 2017 atop competitor Jimmy Fallon for the first time. But the difference between 2017 and 2016 continues to get more dramatic. Through the end of March, Colbert's year is outpacing Fallon's by an average 260,000 viewers. For the same period last year, Colbert was down by 800,000.
Season-to-date, Colbert is narrowing the gap. He's currently shy of Tonight's average 3.26 million viewers with 3.14 million.
What might be most exciting for CBS brass in this latest batch of numbers is that Colbert's improvement isn't just among total viewers — the arena where the network has always thrived, while often skewing older. In the targeted late-night demo of adults 18-49, Colbert brought his closest competitive finish to date. He averaged a 0.5 rating, just behind Fallon's 0.6 rating. Season-to-date, Colbert (.58 rating) still trails Fallon (.84 rating).
Among adults 25-54, the two shows were tied.