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This story first appeared in the Nov. 27 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
In November 2010, the first issue of the relaunched Hollywood Reporter magazine included results of an extensive survey of late-night TV viewers. Respondents were asked their honest opinions of the genre’s biggest names — NBC’s Jay Leno, CBS’ David Letterman and Comedy Central’s power duo of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, among them. The results revealed aging audiences and high hopes for TBS’ new star, Conan O’Brien. Five years later, the late-night landscape is completely different. Only ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel remains host of the show he had then, as Jimmy Fallon inherited The Tonight Show, Colbert took over Late Show and new, younger players James Corden, Trevor Noah and Seth Meyers are making a play for viewers.
For the magazine’s fifth anniversary, THR, working again with measurement firm Penn Schoen Berland, polled viewers to determine what they watch and why. The firm conducted an online survey Nov. 6 through Nov. 10 of 1,000 late-night viewers ages 18 to 65 (split equally between men and women). “What a tumultuous five years it has been!” says lead pollster Jon Penn, noting the biggest winner has been Fallon: “He’s the unpredictable, cool dude you want to be friends with, and his silly, witty and nonoffensive humor is connecting with Leno fans and young, married, moderate women.”
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