Late night ratings report: Stephen Colbert wins fourth consecutive season

Stephen Colbert (Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images)
Stephen Colbert (Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images) /

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert captured another late night ratings title.

The views have been tallied and the late night ratings for the past season are in. The Late Show with Stephen Colbert is once again on top of the late night television world.

The traditional broadcast season came to an end on May 21. CBS proudly announced that The Late Show finished as the most-watched late night television show. It marked the fourth consecutive season that Stephen Colbert was crowned as king.

The Late Show averaged 3.6 million viewers over the course of the season. Colbert also outpaced the competition in the key demographic group of adults age 25-54.

Coming in second once again this season was The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. While the NBC show tied The Late Show in the adults age 18-49 group, it couldn’t quite keep up with Colbert’s overall viewership average.

The Tonight Show averaged 2 million viewers per episode. ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! came in third this season with an average of 1.9 million viewers.

Each host has his own unique sense of humor and delivery when it comes to comedy. The Late Show‘s success proves that fans continue to turn to Colbert for his political commentary. The Tonight Show continues to have the biggest names as guests and develop a strong social media following.

Were late night ratings impacted by the shift to remote episodes?

This season of late night television certainly had its challenges. The novel coronavirus pandemic shut down production throughout the entertainment industry. But slowly but surely programs were able to return with remote episodes filmed from the hosts’ homes.

The Late Show has been coming from Stephen Colbert’s home since the middle of March. Around the same time, Jimmy Fallon was producing The Tonight Show with help from his wife and daughters. Jimmy Kimmel has also been delivering his monologue and conducting celebrity interviews from his living room.

Fans enjoyed these remote episodes, whether it was from late night’s top shows or others like ConanThe Daily Show with Trevor Noah, or Lights Out with David Spade. The stark contrast between a professional, in-studio production to a bare-bones method of at-home shows captured the audience’s attention.

While The Late Show may have topped the late night ratings, there remain no signs of fierce competition among late night’s big three. In fact, Fallon, Colbert, and Kimmel came together to co-host the Together at Home benefit concert to support those impacted by the pandemic. It’s a good sign for late night television and an even better one for fans.

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Is this how you expected the late night ratings to end up? Who have you been watching the most recently? Let us know in the comment section below.