Year-end ratings for the various late-night talk shows have been released, and Stephen Colbert still has reason to celebrate. The snarky commentator gained steam last year when his political skewering and thoughtful interviews caught more attention than Jimmy Fallon’s breezier games and gags. Not only has Colbert surpassed Fallon, but he’s extended his lead by a fair margin, even approaching Fallon in key demographics once considered unreachable.
Colbert’s Late Show is averaging 3.67 million viewers every night compared with Fallon’s Tonight Show earning 2.46 million. That 1.21 million-viewer gap is a 23 percent increase in Colbert’s lead over Fallon compared with last year.
Audiences for every late-night talk show have shrunk year-over-year, but Colbert’s decrease has been marginal compared to his other hosts. His audience has only dropped 1 percent while Fallon’s have dropped 10 percent and Jimmy Kimmel’s audience has dropped 11 percent. (h/t Hollywood Reporter)
Fallon retains his narrow lead among the coveted 18-49 demographic (most prized by advertisers), but Colbert has closed the gap from .08 to.02. At some points in 2018, he drew even with Fallon in the age group.
Curiously, the average age of a viewer for any late-night talk show is sky-high despite the youthful countenances of Colbert, Kimmel and Fallon. Colbert’s average viewer is 63 years old, while Kimmel’s average is 59 and Fallon’s average is a spry 57.