Late night ratings report: Colbert catches Fallon to close strong October

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

Late night television shows experienced improvements in ratings throughout October with The Tonight Show and The Late Show continuing to battle for number one.

October comes to an end on Halloween but late night shows don’t have much to be scared about. Multiple shows posted solid ratings during the month as the two juggernauts The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert competed for the top spot.

It was The Tonight Show, which secured the most weekly wins for a Sept, that posted the best numbers in a month in which several shows aired repeats. Still, Jimmy Fallon was bolstered by an impressive guest lineup and the added viewership from special episodes following Sunday Night Football.

Fallon carried that momentum into Oct. as it reached a 0.42 mark for the week of Sept. 30-Oct. 4The Late Show with Stephen Colbert came in second, bumping up to 0.37 while Jimmy Kimmel Live! also improved to 0.34 among adults 18-49 compared to the previous week.

It was more of the same in the first full week of Oct. as far as the order while numbers dipped. Only The Late Late Show with James Corden saw an uptick in viewers while others like Late Night with Seth Meyers and A Little Late with Lily Singh dropped slightly.

The week starting Oct. 14 was all about Jimmy Kimmel Live!. Several other late night shows took the week off, leaving ABC as the only network airing new episodes. Kimmel delivered with an entertaining week of shows largely dedicated to President Donald Trump.

It was back to regular programming the next week. The Tonight Show outperformed The Late Show in certain demographics while Conan returned from an extended hiatus with a 0.17 rating.

CBS notified fans that The Late Show beat its closest competition  in viewers with 3.55 million for the fourth consecutive week of original episodes in the current season. The Late Show came out on top among adults 25-54.

The increase in viewership among the shows is due to each one continuing to do what they do best. The Tonight Show continued to boast the best guest lineup in late night. The Late Show and Late Night have political humor covered like no one else. And Jimmy Kimmel Live! has managed to combine a little of both by keeping Trump in check and bringing in some fan favorites as guests.

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Fans should expect more of the same as the calendar changes to November. Political headlines will continue to feed the monologues for Stephen Colbert and Seth Meyers while Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel will benefit from celebrities promoting new movie and television releases.