One Night In, Kimmel Tops Letterman In Ratings, But Falls Short of ‘Nightline’

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By Alex Weprin Comment

On his first night at 11:35, “Jimmy Kimmel Live” beat “The Late Show with David Letterman,” in the ratings drawing nearly 3.1 million viewers. That said, Kimmel fell short of  “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” which drew 3.27 million viewers, as well as the show he replaced, “Nightline,” which averaged 3.9 million viewers last quarter.

There are caveats, however. Kimmel’s ratings are based on a 50 minute program, whereas “Nightline” was based on a 25 minute program. In addition, as we noted earlier this week, “JKL” is likely to make more money for ABC in that timeslot than “Nightline” did, even if the ratings aren’t as high. Younger viewers typically mean higher CPMs.

Of course, one night is hardly a trend. We will still have to wait and see where Kimmel’s ratings finally settle. That will likely take much more time.

Update: The “Nightline” numbers are in, and the program topped both “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” and “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson” in total viewers (1.72M compared to 1.35M and 1.30M). That said, the entertainment shows are both one hour, and “Nightline” is only a half-hour, so it isn’t a perfect comparison. Further, “Nightline”‘s 1.7 million viewers is fewer than half of what it used to draw at 11:30 PM, when it averaged 3.9 million viewers last quarter.