'The Late Show' Scores Premiere Week Ratings Win Over 'The Tonight Show'

Stephen Colbert-Publicity -H 2018
Courtesy of CBS

Round one of the 2018-19 late-night matchup goes to The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.

The CBS show drew the biggest total audience for the week of Sept. 24, and it tied NBC's Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon in the adults 18-49 demographic. That's a shift from the same week in 2017, where Colbert's show still led in total viewers but Fallon had the edge in the demo.

In live plus three-day ratings for the week, The Late Show averaged a 0.5 rating among adults 18-49 and 3.72 million viewers. Tonight is at 0.5 and 2.45 million, and ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live! stands at 0.4 and 1.96 million viewers.

In the live plus same-day numbers, Tonight had a bit of an edge in the 18-49 demo with a 0.51 to Late Show's 0.45. 

The Late Show also had bigger delayed-viewing gains, adding 580,000 viewers over three days versus 100,000 for Tonight and 70,000 for Kimmel. All three shows were unchanged in the 18-49 demo; The Late Show and The Tonight Show each added a tenth of a point (tying at 0.8) in adults 25-54.

For the same week in 2017, The Tonight Show averaged a 0.6 in the demo and 2.54 million viewers in live plus same-day ratings to 0.5/3.02 million for The Late Show and 0.5/2.3 million for Jimmy Kimmel Live! Colbert increased his same-day lead over Fallon from 479,000 to 793,000 year to year; after three days of delayed viewing, the gap is 1.27 million viewers.

Late Night With Seth Meyers held the edge at 12:35 a.m. for the week with a 0.3 in the demo and 1.51 million viewers versus 0.2 and 1.32 million for The Late Late Show With James Corden.