'Lights Out With David Spade' Starts Softly on Comedy Central

Lights Out with David Spade-David Spade-Publicity-H 2019
Comedy Central

Comedy Central viewers appear to be taking the title of the cabler's new late-night show, Lights Out With David Spade, a bit too literally.

The show has gotten off to a somewhat sluggish start in linear ratings, averaging just 270,000 same-day viewers (along with a 0.1 rating among adults 18-49) in its first week. That's off a good amount from the two previous two occupants of the 11:30 p.m. slot, The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore in 2015 and The Opposition With Jordan Klepper in 2017.

Spade's show began at a relative disadvantage to those two in that it premiered in the middle of summer, when ratings are generally down. Lights Out's predecessors both launched in higher-usage times of the year (January for The Nightly Show and September for The Opposition). Comedy Central is also touting the show's social numbers, with a cumulative 4.5 million views of videos from the show across Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube as of Friday afternoon.

Comedy Central's stated goal with Lights Out is to move viewers from the politics-heavy Daily Show to lighter topics in pop culture before they turn in for the night.

The network also noted that Lights Out posted time-period improvements, growing the audience for the half-hour by 18 percent over the previous four weeks and by 21 percent vs. a year ago. It also improved in adults 18-49 and 25-54 vs. the prior four weeks and last year.

Those gains, however, are largely against reruns following The Daily Show rather than original programming (The Opposition ended in June 2018). 

Delayed viewing brought a good-sized lift for the show, with viewership rising to 463,000 after three days — a bump of 71 percent. Lights Out also improved by 56 percent in adults 18-49. 

Lights Out retained less than half the same-day audience for The Daily Show, which averaged 604,000 viewers for the week. The 270,000-viewer average for Spade's show compares to 481,000 for The Opposition's premiere week in 2017. The first month of The Nightly Show in 2015 averaged 885,000 viewers, airing after the Jon Stewart-led Daily Show and in a relatively healthier time for ad-supported cable as a whole.

Aug. 6, 1:30 p.m. Updated with three-day ratings figures.