Late night ratings report: Stephen Colbert finishes the season on top

With the 2018-2019 television season over, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert is on top of late night.

Here at Last Night On we like to close out each month by looking at the late night ratings. But with so many shows taking time off during May, it gives us a chance to look at the big picture. And that big picture shows The Late Show with Stephen Colbert is number one.

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert  reached a major milestone at the end of the 2018-2019 season. For the first time in 25 years, The Late Show beat The Tonight Show in the adults-under-50 demographic. Stephen Colbert’s show also outpaced Jimmy Fallon’s in terms of overall viewers.

And while Colbert took the under-50 crown from Fallon, he did experience some losses when it came to younger viewers in the late night audience. Numbers for The Late Show aren’t where they were in the year prior, but industry experts attribute this dip in Nielsen ratings to younger viewers moving away from network and cable television.

The success of Stephen Colbert is in no small part due to his focus on President Donald Trump  . Concern about “Trump fatigue” clearly has not caught up to The Late Show. And with the 2020 election on the horizon, things are only going to heat up more. It is obvious that people are tuning in to hear Colbert mock Trump and his administration almost every night on CBS.

Jimmy Kimmel Live! finished third in overall viewers for the season. Kimmel is much closer to Colbert than Fallon when it comes to political humor. But for fans looking for that sort of laugh, it is The Late Show getting the most attention.

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon‘s strength continues to be in celebrity interviews and social media content. Whether it is your cup of tea or not, Fallon’s style of interviewing and interacting with his guests is what gets viewers to tune in. His ability to prop up his guests and put them at ease leads is part of the reason so many are willing to participate in his games and bits.

It will be interesting to see how The Tonight Show is preparing for the 2020 election. It will be kicking in to high gear come the fall. By then Saturday Night Live will be back, adding to the options for political humor. The Late Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, and Late Night with Seth Meyers will be ready to go but what will Fallon do? As long as he doesn’t ruffle anyone’s hair, he should survive.