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Both NBC’s Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and CBS’ Late Show With Stephen Colbert have welcomed back full audiences recently. The in-studio crowds have also attracted some more people watching at home.
Colbert’s first Late Show in front of an audience at New York’s Ed Sullivan Theatre in more than a year drew 2.32 million same-day viewers Monday night. That was the highest same-day tally for the show in a month. CBS projects a three-day total of 3.18 million viewers, which would be the best for The Late Show since Feb. 8.
The Tonight Show, meanwhile, welcomed its first full audience in Studio 6B at Rockefeller Center on June 7 after having limited in-studio crowds beginning in March. Last week didn’t bring any meaningful ratings boosts for the show, but Tonight did capture its 14th victory in the past 16 weeks in the key ad demographic of adults 18-49. That streak roughly coincides with when Fallon’s show started having partial live audiences and some in-studio guests.
(Tonight, The Late Show and ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! were all down slightly in the demo for the week of June 7 versus their averages for the second quarter. That’s not surprising given overall lower broadcast viewership in the summer.)
Kimmel has said he would likely have live audiences back to his studio once Los Angeles fully lifted its COVID restrictions, which happened Tuesday. CBS’ Late Late Show With James Corden, which also tapes in Los Angeles, and NBC’s New York-based Late Night With Seth Meyers have yet to make concrete plans for live audiences returning.
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