Late night ratings report: Stephen Colbert tops a quiet July

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (Photo: Scott Kowalchyk/CBS)
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (Photo: Scott Kowalchyk/CBS) /

In a month full of vacations, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert managed to stay on top of the late night ratings.

July was a difficult month for late night fans. The Fourth of July holiday meant that most shows took an extended hiatus. This was reflected in the ratings as viewership was down across the board for most of the month.

The start of the month was a predictable low point in late night viewing. Every show ran a repeat episode during the first week. Still, it was The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon that got the most viewers. The show has always had the top guests across late night, so rerunning some popular interviews likely helped keep viewers’ attention.

The second week of July saw the return of Jimmy Kimmel Live! and Conan from the holiday break. Despite being one of only two late night options, Jimmy Kimmel experienced a slight dip in the number of his viewers. It could be that less people overall were watching television and could have been on vacations themselves. Another possibility is that viewers assumed Kimmel was still on break just like Fallon, Stephen Colbert, and Seth Meyers.

Conan earned a slight bump in his viewership upon returning from a break. It helped that this was leading up to his annual ConanCon event at San Diego Comic-Con that has become a fan favorite.

July 15 kicked off a week in which late night was back to its regular schedule with the exception of Conan and The Late Late Show with James CordenThe Late Show with Stephen Colbert won the week with a 0.33 average rating in the adults 18-49 demo. It was a narrow margin of victory as The Tonight Show earned a 0.32 average. Jimmy Kimmel Live! landed third with a 0.28 average.

The numbers suggest that late night fans were eager for new material and that their favorite shows delivered. It is looking like more of the same to close out July as political stories drive viewers to The Late Show and Late Night while pop culture fans turn to The Tonight Show and newcomer Lights Out with David Spade.

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August should provide a little more consistency when it comes to the late night schedule. Fans can expect The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to remain neck and neck in the ratings. Last Night On will have it all covered.