“They’re all fighting for third place now,” Comedy Central scoffed as it reported its “The Colbert Report” had surpassed NBC’s “Tonight Show with Jay Leno” for the first time among 18-to-49-year-old viewers in the first quarter, joining Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” which is in first place in the age bracket.
NBC notes Comedy Central is getting these results by excluding all repeat episodes which is a made-up way of gauging late-night ratings. Comedy Central has responded to NBC like this, to a couple members of the press: “Nuts to you.”
If you remove all the repeats, Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” and “The Colbert Report” topped all their late night competitors in the quarter among adults between the ages of 18 and 49 years — the currency of broadcast TV entertainment programming ad sales.
They also won among 18-to-34-years olds, and with guys in both age brackets — guys in those age brackets being the unicorns of late night TV ad sales.
If you look at all telecasts of all of the late night talk shows, instead of just the original episodes, Leno’s “Tonight” averages 1.018 18-to-49-year-old viewers in the first quarter, which trail’s “Daily Show’s” 1.24 million, but outstrips Colbert’s 979,000 viewers. ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” does trail Colbert, with 929,000 viewers in that age spread, despite having moved to the earlier 11:35 p.m. start time. (The number of Homes Using Television drops dramatically each half hour in late night as TV programs tangle with their stiffest competition: Going To Bed.)
Anyway, those glass-half-full guys at ABC preferred not to get into it with Comedy Central, instead focusing on the fact that their guy Kimmel had enjoyed his biggest ever audience for any quarter and, in the age group, turned in his best performance for any quarter in more than 9 years.