Late Night TV Ratings For The Week Of May 14 - May 18, 2012

Categories: Late Night TV Ratings,Network TV Press Releases,Weekly Late Night TV Ratings

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May 24th, 2012

To see past weeks' Late Night TV ratings information click here.

Via NBC's Press Release





UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. – May 24, 2012 – NBC’s “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” has averaged a 0.8 rating, 3 share in adults 18-49 and 3.4 million viewers overall for the week of May 14-18, delivering bigger audiences than CBS’s "Late Show with David Letterman" and ABC’s combination of “Nightline” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live” in total viewers, adults 18-34 and other key categories. Note that “Kimmel” was in rebroadcast on Monday, Tuesday and Friday last week.

At 12:35 a.m. ET, "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" delivered bigger audiences than CBS's "Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" and ABC’s “Kimmel” in their head-to-head half-hour in adults 18-49, adults 18-34, adults 25-54 and total viewers. For the week, "Late Night" averaged a 0.5/3 in 18-49 and 1.6 million viewers overall.

Through the first 35 weeks of the season, "Tonight" has increased its total-viewer margin over "Late Show" to 15 percent (3.705 million vs. 3.220 million), up from the year-ago season-to-date advantage of 9 percent. Jimmy Fallon has also established a total-viewer lead over "Late Late Show" this season of 15 percent (1.763 million vs. 1.533 million), up from last year's advantage of 1 percent. Jimmy has also increased his season-to-date lead over "Late Late Show" in adults 18-34, to 41 percent (277,000 vs. 197,000) up from last year's 23 percent, and in adults 25-54, to 11 percent (862,000 vs. 778,000) up from 2 percent at this point last season.

(According to in-home viewing figures from Nielsen Media Research for the week of May 14-18. Ratings reflect “live plus same day” data from Nielsen Media Research unless otherwise noted. Season-to-date figures are averages of “live plus seven day” data except for the two most recent weeks, which are “live plus same day.”)

ADULTS 18-49

11:35 p.m.-12:35 a.m. ET
NBC “Tonight,” 0.8 rating, 3 share
CBS “Late Show,” 0.8/3

11:35 p.m.-12 midnight ET
ABC “Nightline,” 0.9/3

12 midnight-1 a.m. ET
ABC “Kimmel,” 0.5/2*

12:35-1:35 a.m. ET
NBC “Late Night,” 0.5/3
CBS “Late Late Show,” 0.4/2

1:35-2:05 a.m. ET
NBC “Last Call,” 0.3/2*


11:35 p.m.-12:35 a.m. ET
NBC “Tonight,” 3.4 million viewers
CBS “Late Show,” 3.2 million viewers

11:35 p.m.-12 midnight ET
ABC “Nightline,” 3.7 million viewers

12 midnight-1 a.m. ET
ABC “Kimmel,” 1.8 million viewers*

12:35-1:35 a.m. ET
NBC “Late Night,” 1.6 million viewers
CBS “Late Late Show,” 1.6 million viewers

1:35-2:05 a.m. ET
NBC “Last Call,” 0.9 million viewers*

* Friday’s “Last Call” and the Monday, Tuesday and Friday “Kimmel” telecasts were encores


ADULTS 18-49

11:35 p.m.-12:35 a.m. ET
NBC “Tonight,” 0.9 rating, 3 share
CBS “Late Show,” 0.8/3

11:35 p.m.-12 midnight ET
ABC “Nightline,” 0.9/3

12 midnight-1 a.m. ET
ABC “Kimmel,” 0.5/2

12:35-1:35 a.m. ET
NBC “Late Night,” 0.6/3
CBS “Late Late Show,” 0.5/3

1:35-2:05 a.m. ET
NBC “Last Call,” 0.3/2


11:35 p.m.-12:35 a.m. ET
NBC “Tonight,” 3.7 million viewers
CBS “Late Show,” 3.2 million viewers

11:35 p.m.-12 midnight ET
ABC “Nightline,” 3.9 million viewers

12 midnight-1 a.m. ET
ABC “Kimmel,” 1.8 million viewers

12:35-1:35 a.m. ET
NBC “Late Night,” 1.8 million viewers
CBS “Late Late Show,” 1.5 million viewers

1:35-2:05 a.m. ET
NBC “Last Call,” 1.0 million viewers




Comedy Central, 11-11:30 p.m. ET, “The Daily Show,” 0.3 (in encore telecasts)
Comedy Central, 11:30 p.m.-midnight ET, “The Colbert Report,” 0.3 (in encore telecasts)

TBS, 11 p.m.-midnight, “Conan,” 0.5**

Adult Swim, 11:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. ET, 0.9
Adult Swim, 12:30-1:30 a.m. ET, 0.6

Each adult 18-49 rating point equals 1.28 million viewers


Comedy Central, 11-11:30 p.m. “The Daily Show,” 0.8 million (in encore telecasts)
Comedy Central, 11:30 p.m.-midnight ET, “The Colbert Report,” 0.6 million (in encore telecasts)

TBS, 11 p.m.-midnight, “Conan,” 0.9 million**

Adult Swim, 11:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. ET, 2.0 million
Adult Swim, 12:30-1:30 a.m. ET, 1.4 million

** Monday’s “Conan” was an encore.

  • Brad

    Thanks Monikka. Sorry, but I respectfully disagree with some of your comments.

    “TBS spent a fortune promoting Conan, with decidedly lackluster results” and “” is what got Conan a big priemere and he rode on that for so long until it final stopped falling in AUGUST! 8 MONTHS FROM HIS PREIMERE! That was unheard of.

    If Conan had that “third-party buzz” like I had mentioned things would be different. I don’t hear any TV credits raving about Conan’s new show. If they ever talk about him, they talk about the past and how he used to be awesome. The last time Conan won an Emmy was in 2007. TBS has been bragging that their late night show is Emmy-nominated. HBO doesn’t brag that Real Time with Bill Maher/Politically Incorrect has been Emmy-nominated for 26 years, more than any other show. This just proves TBS wants that third-party buzz.

    The Huffington Post (once Time Warner owned) has been doing good creating a buzz about Conan, but that’s only 40 million+ people a month. That doesn’t mean 40 million different people and only half of that audience are people who are in the age demographic that Conan pulls in. (

    Excluding his appearance on Letterman’s show, the last time I heard something from Yahoo!, Google News, etc. about Conan’s show was when he was going to officiate a gay marriage in New York. Conan has very little media in his favor beyond. He isn’t on a network with a news cycle to help remind people how funny he can be.

    The syndication isn’t relevant to Conan, but it is to TBS. If TBS wants to justify any lack in the ratings, it can’t simply say they can put the shows on DVD for the holidays, sell the rights to Netflix after the season is done, put it into syndication for on another network, etc.

    As for the “urgency of viewing the shows now” because they do not syndicate is fading away. All the talk shows throw up their late night episodes on the web and break it down into clips. You never have to watch the full episode if they themselves are breaking down their shows to show you the best moments of their hour long show. For me, I never watch a new show of Burn Notice and it is one of my favorite shows on television today. Whenever I hear a new episode coming, I just think about watching it later online, and most of the time I forget to do that as time goes by. I’m sure many other people who would watch Conan do the same thing as I do with Burn Notice.

  • Brad

    As for late night hosts. I like everyone except those who get 0.9s; The Daily Show, The Tonight Show, or The Late Show. I do watch these, specifically Leno or Letterman after I leave Conan at 11:35 which I ALWAYS do after his first week of new shows or when Conan is in reruns I watch The Daily Show, they are not my first choice. I am Libertarian and while I respect Stewart’s program and used to really like it, it slowly became an MSNBC type of show (Rachel Maddow anybody?) and I don’t find it funny at all, I find it sad. I liked it when he poked fun at politics as a whole, not being assertive with his beliefs or whinnying “how come we can’t all work together”.

    I totally agree with you about Ferguson. His monologues are refreshing, hilarious, and informative. I like it a lot. I love watching his show up until 1am. After that I don’t really care for the show. He isn’t a very good interviewer. It is funny but it is very silly. Jon Stewart and David Letterman are definitely the best interviewers.

    As for my soft spot for Conan, I feel like I am like him comedically. They way he acts out things and finds humor in his reality (like with his audience). I also live near Conan’s hometown of Boston. I live on the North Shore in Massachusetts. I actually live in the same county as Jay Leno. Jay Leno and I are more similar in background then Conan and I. We grew up in the suburbs, went to public schools there (though my grades were much better than his), weren’t exactly popular, had a speech impediment, and went (me currently going) to school in communications. Conan is very smart and very nice, but he was given a lot in life was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Brookline High School is one of the best high schools in MA and has current 14:1 student ratio. He got to work for the school’s newspaper. His lawyer daddy paid for Harvard. Then Lorne Michaels gave the unknown writer the chance to fill in Letterman’s shoes. Seriously?! Leno and I didn’t live a poor life, but we weren’t ever handed anything and that’s where I stand up for Leno when it comes to his personality.

  • Drum

    See to me favorite part of Ferguson’s show are the interviews, it’s the only show in late night where there’re actual conversations with guests and not a preplanned Q&A.

  • Monikka

    Brad, It’s interesting that you relate comedically to Conan even though you come from a background similar to Leno’s. Communications? Are you at Emerson?

    You mentioned Conan’s silver spoon. That’s what bothers me about this whole late night shuffle debacle–his and Team Coco’s attitude that somehow he “deserves” the Tonight Show, even though he didn’t do well at it. There’s a political analogy to be made here but I won’t do it.

    You said, in reference to Ferguson: ” After that I don’t really care for the show. He isn’t a very good interviewer. It is funny but it is very silly. Jon Stewart and David Letterman are definitely the best interviewers.”

    I agree with you. (Sorry, Drum.) Ferguson used to be a much better interviewer and was, at times, great (Desmond Tutu, Stephen Fry). I think he made a conscious decision to eschew the typical late night interview but I don’t like the result. I’m an adult. I can handle interesting conversations but silly ones bore me after a while.

    Letterman and Stewart are great interviewers, Letterman especially, but I think Ferguson has it in him too. Time will tell if his decision to skew silly in the interview segment of his show will hurt his chances of succeeding Letterman.

  • Brad

    After my run at a local community college, Dean’s List and all, I should be going to Salem State this fall, hopefully. I just found this out though. Leno went to Salem State University in 2009 for a fund raiser for scholarships. ( The last two schools Conan spoke at was a graduation speech to a group of Ivy League students at Dartmouth and then just talking amongst a group of Univeristy of California – San Diago (UCSD) which is $30k to attend annually. I’m not saying that these kids are spoiled or undeserving of their higher education, I’m just saying Leno cares more about the working class, the less fortunate than Conan does and I have the evidence to prove it.

    “I’m an adult. I can handle interesting conversations but silly ones bore me after a while.” – Monikka. I feel the same exact way. I do think Ferguson has it in him too. I remember watching his interview with Dr. Cornell West and was completely blown away with their discussion. I do wonder like you if he did it to give him the upper hand in having different interviews with celebrities than the other talk shows.

    By the way, if anyone wants to say that since I am a Libertarian I shouldn’t attend state schools, I would have to be an idiot not to take my state of Massachusetts up on the offer. It is one thing to use the system, it is another thing to make the system.

  • canobi

    Thank you Brad, that certainly puts some things into perspective – appreciate you found the time to cover both historical and sociological aspects of “breaking in” a station image and the shows’ impact on the whole dynamic.

  • Charles

    “Earning the Tonight Show…”

    Interesting thought…

    A few have felt that way, and only one has succeeded.

    Letterman certainly felt that way, after successfully hosting Late Night for a decade. Johnny thought so too…NBC of course did not.

    Conan felt the same way. Worked a bit better for him, but had a twist few were able to see…

    Leno felt entitled to it, and he and his manager did everything to get it. Worked for him perfectly.

    So many criticize Conan for drooling all over the show, but forget that Leno and his manager were twice as ruthless.

  • Steve

    “I’m just saying Leno cares more about the working class, the less fortunate than Conan does and I have the evidence to prove it.”

    Careful with that…speaking at colleges should not be the only example.

    Conan, as are most of the others, tremendous philanthropists.

  • JBS

    Monikka, Brad: I feel the same way about Ferguson’s interviews. At times they can be very good and I appreaciate that he does something different than what we know from the other shows just for the fact that variety is better than doing the same thing as all the other late night guys on a daily basis. But the results are about 50% of the time completely pointless, he often doesn’t know what the hell he should ask these people and it falls into the exact same jokes every night. I’m still watching though.. ;)

    I like Letterman’s and Conan’s interviews the best. Letterman’s because they are the most interesting and seem a bit less scripted than the others. And because he dares to let them actually flow and isn’t thinking panically about the next joke he could throw in.

    And Conan’s because he can be very, very funny during the interviews and they have a positive vibe to me (don’t know how to describe it better). He doesn’t ask critical questions or make too much fun of his guests but that’s totally fine, others can do that (variety, like I said). Conan is very good in getting a guest comfortably through these few minutes, he has a fine sense of when to draw attention to himself and back to the guest (maybe a bit too much on himself but it’s okay cause it’s always funny). Mixed feelings about Andy Richter’s party though – from time to time he throws in something fery funny but often enough he destroys the flow of the conversation with his comments.

  • JBS

    I mean “Andy Richter’s part” of course.

  • Diana Santiago

    Brad, being from the Boston area, you might now Lawrence, MA, where 34% of the population lives under the poverty line. There’s a charity called Labels are for Jars, which was co-founded by Conan and his college roommate, Father O’Brien, that manages a dining room for people that can’t afford to eat and has programs against violence. It’s not something where he pours money in; during holidays, Conan wears an apron and serves food like any other volunteer.

    The fact that Conan does not go public on his charities does not mean that he doesn’t care. You might think he was born with a silver spoon; my feeling is, coming from a large family like him, that it’s not so easy when the silver spoon has to be shared between 6 siblings. ;)

  • SB

    Brad, one last off-topic point. UCSD, while one of the finest public colleges in America, is hardly a bastion for the elite class. Current tuition is about $13,000, and it is only that high because of the horrible state budget mess – historically, the University of California has been known as one of the least expensive schools in the country for in-state students. It is very hard to get into, but only based on merit – affirmative action is outlawed in California.

  • Gary Middleton

    Looks like 0.51 for Conan last week.

    I didn’t get much from the Letterman interview on CNN last night. Looked like the usual Dave and Regis kidding around and confiding their mutual love with a different backdrop.

    The one thing that was an interesting revelation for me was that Dave’s heart surgeon, Wayne Isom, wasn’t really there the night he brought out “the whole team”. They filmed him close up on another day and cheated the wide shot.

  • Brad

    As soon as I left for work, I knew someone was going to find something good about Conan, but I’m glad you told me Diana. I feel like I heard that from Carter’s book or somewhere else before though. I could be confusing it with Mitt Romney’s debate against Ted Kennedy and how he does something similar in his spare time. Actually really shocked to find out Lawrence is doing THAT bad. I knew things were bad there, my community college is in the next town over, but that’s terrible.

  • Brad

    Hey guys, did TBS buy all the rights to Cougar Town? Can they air old episodes? Also, how do you think Cougar Town will play out on TBS? The final on ABC last night got a 1.2. Will TBS be able to get a 1.0 out of it? Canobi, this is going to be an EXCELLENT example to see the difference of having a show on a network and having a show on cable! Your welcome for my break down by the way. I enjoyed writing it.

    I’m going to quite down a bit. I’ve spilled out all that I wanted to with my analysts.

  • Gary Middleton

    To the best of my knowledge, Martin Short has not been on Leno’s Tonight Show in nearly a decade. In that span, he has done Letterman’s show 13 times.

    Short returns to Leno on Monday. Wonder if Steve Martin’s detente played any part in that.

    Emma Stone Tuesday, Tom Cruise Friday. Solid for early June. And for better or worse, no NHL delays next week. And none at all unless the series goes at least 6 games.

  • Gary Middleton

    Brad, I assume that’s just the new season of Cougar Town.

  • Brad

    Just realized Jeff Gaspin was the NBC chairmen in 2009 and Jeff Zucker was CEO or NBC in 2007. Whoever set up Conan the deal to be The Tonight Show successor wasn’t even around when it went down. These are not the guys who approved of Conan taking it over.

  • Ashkan

    Here you go Brad
    “Cougar Town, the acclaimed sitcom starring Golden Globe® nominee Courteney Cox, is moving to TBS. The top-rated network has ordered a fourth season of Cougar Town, to begin airing in early 2013. In addition, TBS has garnered the encore rights to Cougar Town’s first three seasons of 61 episodes that originally aired on ABC.”(

  • Gary Middleton

    Thanks for the straightening-out, Ashkan.

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