Late Night TV Ratings For September 24-28, 2012

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

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October 4th, 2012

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


Via NBC's Press Release










UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. – October 4, 2012 – NBC’s late-night stars have opened the 2012-13 television season with #1 finishes for the week of September 24-28 versus the ABC and CBS time-period competition, as "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" delivered bigger audiences in adults 18-49 and total viewers than CBS's "Late Show with David Letterman" and ABC's combination in that hour of "Nightline" and "Jimmy Kimmel Live," while "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" topped CBS's "Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" and "Kimmel" in their head-to-head half-hour. Note that "Tonight" and "Late Show" both rounded to a 0.7 rating in adults 18-49 for the week, while Jay delivered a bigger audience in that category. Monday's "Late Night" and Friday's "Kimmel" were encores.


Versus last year's premiere week, Jay increased his lead over "Late Show" in viewers 18-49, 18-34 and 25-54. For the week, Jay delivered bigger audiences than "Late Late Show" in all key categories: adults, men and women 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54, plus total viewers.


At 12:35 a.m. ET, Jimmy Fallon also stretched his year-ago margin over "Late Late Show" in 18-49 viewers and generated bigger audiences than "Late Late Show" in every key category.


For the first week of the new season, "Tonight" increased its viewers 18-49 margin over "Late Show" to 8 percent (935,000 vs. 865,000), up from the year-ago premiere-week advantage of 2 percent, while stretching its 25-54 advantage to 7 percent (1.213 million vs. 1.130 million) from last year’s 5 percent and its 18-34 lead to 27 percent (335,000 vs. 263,000) from last year’s 19 percent. Jimmy Fallon delivered a viewers 18-49 lead over "Late Late Show" of 22 percent (591,000 vs. 485,000), up from last year's advantage of 14 percent.


"Tonight" delivered a bigger 18-49 audience than "Late Show" for the 35th time in their last 39 head-to-head weeks (excludes weeks of Olympic preemptions) and 17th week in a row, while Jimmy Fallon has attracted a bigger 18-49 audience than "Late Late Show" for each of their last 42 head-to-head weeks.





(According to in-home viewing figures from Nielsen Media Research for the week of September 24-28. 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," 0.7 rating, 3 share


CBS "Late Show," 0.7/3


11:35 p.m.-12 midnight ET


ABC "Nightline," 0.8/3


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," 3.3 million viewers


CBS "Late Show," 3.0 million viewers


11:35 p.m.-12 midnight ET


ABC "Nightline," 3.6 million viewers


12 midnight-1 a.m. ET


ABC "Kimmel," 1.8 million viewers*


12:35-1:35 a.m. ET


NBC "Late Night," 1.5 million viewers*


CBS "Late Late Show," 1.4 million viewers


1:35-2:05 a.m. ET


NBC "Last Call," 0.9 million viewers*



* Monday’s "Late Night" and "Last Call" and Friday’s "Kimmel" were encores









Comedy Central, 11-11:30 p.m. ET, "The Daily Show," 0.7**


Comedy Central, 11:30 p.m.-midnight ET, "The Colbert Report," 0.5**


TBS, 11 p.m.-midnight, "Conan," 0.5


Adult Swim, 11:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. ET, 0.8


Adult Swim, 12:30-1:30 a.m. ET, 0.5


Each adult 18-49 rating point equals 1.27 million viewers





Comedy Central, 11-11:30 p.m. "The Daily Show," 1.6 million**


Comedy Central, 11:30 p.m.-midnight ET, "The Colbert Report," 1.1 million**


TBS, 11 p.m.-midnight, "Conan," 0.9 million


Adult Swim, 11:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. ET, 1.8 million


Adult Swim, 12:30-1:30 a.m. ET, 1.2 million


** Monday’s "Daily Show" and "Colbert Report" were encores.







  • Brad

    I think Letterman wants Conan to take over The Late Show. He even joked about it during the Tonight Show debacle, but when there’s a joke, there’s always a hidden meaning lurking somewhere behind it, disguised as just another joke. I do not think Ferguson is by any means ready for 11:30. He’s moved to a big studio but he hasn’t adopt anything that would make him a clone of a post-Carson late night show. No traditional monologue, no band, etc.

    While Conan does look a lot younger than Ferguson, and appeals to the youth more than any other late night host. It would make more since for CBS to go with Conan. However, Conan is going on 50. How long can he keep his comedy up to snuff? How loyal will Conan fans be in 5 years? This makes it very concerning to hire Conan. Then again, who else would you hire?

  • Gary Middleton

    Anonymous, Thursday was likely around 0.7 based on the 33% revision to Rock Center. That would put his overnight average at 0.86. A revision to 0.73 is big, but not really atypical of what we saw all last season and we did see bigger ones than this. Sometimes the divergence was in the vicinity of 0.2.

    I’m not sure Jay is hurting worse than Dave at this point on a year-over-year basis. I think Dave won the early weeks last year, and here he is pulling 0.67. On the same week he had Obama on his show, no? And Adult Swim might be down more than both on a percentage basis.

    Chance of Leno getting the 12:35 slot is zero percent, imo. They’ll bring in way younger people or nobody.

  • anonymous

    “that they are practicing for the next gig.”

    That’s an interesting take. So do you think Conan’s new venture of serious, in depth interviews at his web site mean that he has an eye out for Piers Morgan’s seat?

  • Diana Santiago

    “Leno says he spends 80% of his time on his monologue.”
    That’s so sad in so many levels.

    Seriously, besides the monologue, is there any other “comedy” at The Tonight Show?

  • Aaron

    I think Letterman thinks Conan and Fallon are his true successors. He’s been friends with Conan for a long time and he seemed to like Fallon a lot. Plus, it sounded like Letterman visited Fallon backstage on the night Paul was a guest on Fallon’s show. Judging from Ferguson’s interview, I don’t think Letterman has much of a connection with him.

  • Gary Middleton

    “I should have know this as I help campaign for a candidate here in MA.”

    Anyone we know?? That Senate race is pretty exciting.

    “I am with you Gary about why didn’t Conan tailor his show to suit him better?”

    I think it suits him as far as being the show he enjoys doing. But that audiences probably find the storyline confusing: he’s telling us he doesn’t like jokes, yet he’s doing jokes, every single night. It wouldn’t take a huge tweak to take the irony out of it and make it all track. It’s one take on why a very funny guy with a very funny show loses to 1 a.m. reruns of Friends.

  • Aaron

    “I am with you Gary about why didn’t Conan tailor his show to suit him better?”

    But Brad, Conan didn’t know he’d be at TBS when he first started hosting the Tonight Show. He’s doing the style he’s always wanted to do. Not saying that he shouldn’t change; I definitely have my fair share of criticism when it comes to Conan’s TBS show. I’m very curious to know what the budget for Conan is compared to the one for Late Night with Conan O’Brien.

  • Brad

    “I’m very curious to know what the budget for Conan is compared to the one for Late Night with Conan O’Brien.”

    I’m still curious about that too. Rumours have it that it was $90 million altogether, but isn’t that the same budget for Conan’s Tonight Show? According to Andy Richter on Stern’s program, he acted like the $60 million budget from TBS was a significant cut not only from doing the Tonight Show, but from doing Late Night as well.

    As for Conan’s practicing his skills, I think he most certainly is. He is just trying to create a highlight reel for someone like CBS. Deep conversations, like Letterman. An online presence, like Letterman. Should I continue?

    Letterman is definitely interested and is charmed by Conan and Fallon. He definitely looks at them as innovators of this genre. He also gets along with Stewart and Kimmel and even Colbert, but these meets are not the same as with they are with Conan and Fallon.

  • Brad

    I’m campaigning for Richard Tisei (R). He’s up against 16-year veteran Congressman John Tierney (D). For those who don’t know, in short, Tierney’s wife is being prosecuted for her ties with the mafia and accounting for them which is indeed a federal crime. We think we have a good shot at winning the race with a moderate Republican (truly just a Libertarian on the Republican ballot).

  • Drum

    Ferguson’s interview lasted as long as did his earlier interviews with Letterman plus he had an interview at the Paley center after the show.

    Thing about Letterman and Ferguson is that Letterman wasn’t a comedic influence on him so Ferguson doesn’t perceive him as an idol as most of the other hosts do.

    Unrelated to the Letterman appearance from
    “Q: Is there anything you can do, or are doing, to make the show better? Would you like to be on earlier in the evening?

    A: Make it funnier? It’s funny enough. I do my best every night; that’s all I do. Bring it to the next level? I don’t think like that. I don’t live in a mad world of endless ambition. F… that. I try to be joyful, funny, silly and engaging. There’s no levels of that. I don’t care about being on earlier. That’s an old idea … people watch on computers.”

  • Justin

    @Diana Santiago

    Headlines, Sold Or Not Sold, Fine Print, Products, Interviews with Celebrities Via Satalite, Etc.

  • Brad

    Diana. Just wanted you to know I was not kidding about Leno spending about 80% of his Tonight Show time working on his monologue. That really stood out to me in one of Bill Carter’s book. It does make sense when you think about it though, like why he tells more monologue jokes than anyone else in late night, along with the fact he reads cue cards constantly during interviews.

    BTW, thanks for the Charlie Ross interview with Conan O’Brien. A very good interview. Too bad Conan didn’t stick to his logic to stay on the network where he can have all his content. The break up with NBC in 2010 must have been detrimental if he already knew how much it would stink if he ever left NBC. About the content restrictions and all. Like he knew what was going to happen if he was to leave NBC and yet he still did it instead of taking up their offer. It must’ve hurt so badly living the show business life outside of NBC knowing exactly what’s going to happen. And then you go on to not even become a Letterman like figure and stand up to the franchise you were apart of, but instead live beneath it. CONAN is not on the same level as The Tonight Show or The Late Show. That little segment of that video really made me feel bad for Conan O’Brien. That’s kinda why I wish CBS will pick him up, so he can have another time at the top, if that’s what he wants. He could be over it but I’m not certain of that.

  • Monikka

    Letterman is jealous of Ferguson but it doesn’t matter one bit. Letterman will not get to choose his successor. Les Moonves is smart enough to know that there’s an element of an outgoing host hoping his replacement will fail.

    As for Ferguson being “ready” for 11:30, he’s smarter and more talented than any of them. He does a 12:30 show now because he’s on at 12:30. When he’s on at 11:30, he’ll do an 11:30 show.

  • Brad

    We just don’t see eye to eye about Ferguson Monikka so I’m going to drop that. But I do know that Letterman is upset about Ferguson because now he has become an important assist to CBS. Letterman never wanted to create CBS an assist. That’s we he hired Tom Synder and place him in the wrong time slot. That’s why he hired the very mediocre Craig Kilborn. And that’s why he hired the flamboyant Scottish man with a Scottish burr. None of the people were suppose to create a buzz about succeeding Letterman, but now all of a sudden Ferguson is being closely examined by CBS. That’s why Letterman isn’t happy. If he was suppose to pick his successor, he probably would have placed Stewart in for the Late Late Show sometime after Synder’s departure instead of picking Kilborn.

  • Justin


    Letterman owns his company. I’d think he would have some say on who successes him. Maybe one of the people who was considered for Late Late to replace Kilborne?

  • Monikka


    it seems to me we agree that Letterman is jealous of Ferguson. Have you ever seen any of Ferguson’s standup or the movies he’s written and starred in? If you have, I think you’d see that he’s capable of much more than 12:30 schtick.


    Ferguson works directly for CBS. He does not work for Worldwide Pants. CBS now produces part of Ferguson’s show.

    Letterman owns his company and produces The Late Show but why do you assume CBS will continue to let Worldwide Pants produce The Late Show when Letterman leaves?

  • Diana Santiago

    Good point about Letterman, Brad.

    Also, I agree with your perception of the Charlie Rose interview. That interview helps you understand (just a bit) the pain Conan went through on January 2010. It’s not about money, not about ratings, it’s about the legacy of your work.

    Does Jay still does the satellite interviews? Wasn’t that the awful 10 at 10?

  • Diana Santiago

    I don’t think Letterman will have more decision power over his successor than what Johnny Carson had. Ferguson is also a good friend of Julia Chen. I think CBS wants Ferguson at 11:30 pm… the question is does Craig want 11:30 pm?

  • Diana Santiago

    Let me clarify that I really like Craig Ferguson. He’s bright, he’s funny, he’s great. I’m looking forward to see his taping next month! I’m not questioning his qualifications, I’m just wondering if he’s willing to change what he has now. A 11:30 pm show will require more scripting, more commitment to keeping the guest schedule, a long-term contract to CBS…

  • Monikka

    One thing that’s never been mentioned in all these discussions of Ferguson taking over for Letterman is that Ferguson has his own TV production company, called Green Mountains

    Ferguson may be publicly cagey about talking about replacing Letterman because the real issue is working out with CBS for Ferguson’s company to start producing The Late Show after Letterman retires. It’s not merely a question of Ferguson replacing Letterman, it’s also a question of Green Mountains West replacing Worldwide Pants and I assume that will be complicated.

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