12:51pm PT by Michael O'Connell
TV Ratings: Kimmel's Health Care Coverage Heats Up Late-Night Race
As nobody ever actually said in the supremely underrated 2001 Mark Brown movie of the same name, "two can play that game."
Jimmy Kimmel's lean into politics, particularly the GOP's likely dead attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, has given him several key ratings victories in recent weeks — mirroring the heat current events coverage helped give competitor (and pal) Stephen Colbert. On the first night of the 2017-18 broadcast season, his monologue (and strong lead-in from The Good Doctor) seems to have helped him win the key demographic of adults 18-49 — topping both perennial demo victor Jimmy Fallon (NBC) and politically minded Colbert (CBS).
ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live! averaged a 0.6 rating in the key demo on Monday night, topping his recent visit from Hollywood's murky booking choice du jour Sean Spicer. What's more, Kimmel boasted his best rating among households (excluding NBA-lifted episodes) in the past six months.
When adjustments come in, that means that Fallon's Tonight is on track to kick off the season with the smallest audience of any 11:35 talk show, as Stephen Colbert continues his winning streak among total viewers. CBS press just issued another boast-y release noting that Colbert's second year with The Late Show marked a 20 percent lift among audiences.
One day in late night means very little, but, as it is with Colbert, whatever Kimmel is doing seems to be working.