Late Night TV Ratings For September 24-28, 2012

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

Written By

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.







  • Monikka

    Ah Ha Moment! Letterman is dragging his feet on retiring because he knows his WorldWide Pants employees will be out of a job once he’s gone!

  • Aaron

    Monikka, if Ferguson goes to 11:30 how much different do you think that show will be compared to his current show?

  • Monikka

    Aaron, Ferguson is notorious for zigging when people expect him to zag so I’m a little wary of posting expectations but here goes: There’ll be a band, for one thing, and I anticipate less improvised silliness, if only because he’ll have more writers to help him fill time. If he has a bigger budget, I anticipate more sketches. Ferguson has said that they can’t afford too many sketches now. Most of all, I think there will be a little more direction and gravitas to the interviews. When President Obama visits The Late Show with Craig Ferguson, I don’t think they’ll talk about dropping acid or guess what Her Majesty the Queen is thinking while wrongly imprisoned.

    The big “if” here is budget. Ferguson may be attractive to CBS for the very reason that he can produce a show with a much smaller budget than any of his competitors. Despite our differences, I think we all agree that less money in late night is the wave of the future.

  • Brad

    I don’t doubt Ferguson can go on at 11:30. I remember he was great interviewing Prince Fielder guy during black history month. I also remember his words about the Colorado shooting. He can tell some great jokes that you’d think came from Letterman at his finest. I think all of these things make him a broadcaster, and he is a very fine broadcaster at that. My thoughts are, why would CBS want to replace an old broadcaster with a somewhat younger broadcaster? Why not step it up to get some worthy ratings?

    “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.”

    And that is why we are slowly seeing CBS eat away at the powerhouse that is Letterman and Worldwide Pants (btw, anybody have an explanation for the name?). Anyways CBS keep cutting Letterman’s pay checks and how much his company owns of The Late Late Show. I think Ferguson is trying to stick around for some time with Green Mountains West, but does anyone see any backlash with this secrecy? Like Ferguson is pulling a Leno, politicizing on how to get a Veteran out of a throne he’s crafted and held onto for so long?

  • Brad

    Ferguson being able to go up against Kimmel and Leno/Fallon at 11:30, with the budget and production he has currently, is laughable. He would easily get crushed in the ratings. Yeah it would be a cheaper show, but it would be pointless to not have a show capture the ratings of 10pm shows by spending a few bucks for a proper late night show. I do agree, less money is the future of these late night shows, unless some of these shows go away bringing more of an audience to other shows.

    Now I’m going to spew all my hate and dissatisfaction about Ferguson and his future. The big problem I have with Ferguson is that he gets a new studio and doesn’t do anything new. He is not practicing to be the heir of The Late Show. The monologues, interviews, seg-ways; nothing gas changed. Ferguson also has a big issue that people don’t really know him, he doesn’t host award shows or do anything people would really watch except being the silly flamboyant Scotsman from The Drew Carrey Show, but even the most popular form people may know him from is from the 90’s! Ferguson also has no online presence. Freaking Carson Daly has better online views than Ferguson! (imo). You guys can say he’s going to be the successor to Letterman and all and that’s fine, I can see him doing it, but if he isn’t trying do his job like its an 11:30 show, and if he isn’t trying to broaden himself to the public, it is the worst idea to have succeed.

  • JB

    I don’t think Letterman is jealous of Ferguson…why would he? They’re both from different eras. I think Letterman is disapproving of Ferguson’s style, both as a host and his non-traditional late night show format. I don’t think Ferguson’s crude humor goes by very well with Letterman.

    Ferguson is who he is, I don’t think he’ll ever really change his style. My biggest problem with his show right now is the guests they book. Seems like he’s got the most limited Rolodex in terms of the people that come on…and the LLS books about one musical act every two weeks it seems. The best way for Ferguson to show his appeal to more people is by booking more relevant guests in poop culture so they can see his interview skills. Are they just losing out to the other LA-based late night shows? Or are celebrities hesitant to come on because of Ferguson’s non-scripted interview style?

  • JB

    Whoops, *Pop culture

  • Monikka

    Since I’m the resident Ferguson expert here–with some help from Drum–let me reply to some of the points made by Brad and JB.

    I think a case could be made that he has made some changes in the new studio–a few more sketches, more dancing, less segment-ending games, the admittedly questionable addition of the CBS “censor”–but he’s still doing a 12:30 show. Anyone who is a student of late night will tell you that the later show is different than the earlier one. It has to feel a bit naughtier, a little looser. Done and done well.

    Letterman told Ferguson in his first interview on The Late Show that he’d never seen anything like Ferguson’s ability to improvise. Ferguson was Peter Lassally’s choice to replace Kilborn and it’s thought Letterman deferred to Lassally on that. It’s well known Letterman’s own guy, Rob Burnett, wanted Michael Ian Black to succeed Kilborn. Letterman’s preference was never made clear but Ferguson was not “his” guy. Professional jealousy is hard to pinpoint but I think it’s there. Others have commented on it in other places. Is it really difficult to believe that the cranky and competitive Letterman could be jealous of Ferguson?

    As for Ferguson’s reticence to play his “succession” hand, look how that worked out for Conan, who showed his cards five years in advance. Maybe it’s respect for Letterman that has Ferguson refuse to publicly grasp at his job. Maybe it’s business acumen. Maybe it’s actual uncertainty about whether he really wants it or not. Regardless, it’s not evil and it’s not sneaky. It’s reticent.

    His guest list is limited but has opened up since the new season started. If I were a publicist-trained and restrained, it’s true I might be hesitant to meet Ferguson. I’d rather go on Fallon, where my sphincter would be verbally soothed.

    As for the scarcity of bands, I think it’s a budget issue but, again, there’ve been more musicians–and great ones–since the start of the new season.

    Ferguson won’t do awards shows because, like Jerry Seinfeld, he see much risk and little reward. He did, however, sell out Radio City Music Hall this weekend for his standup. That’s his way of reaching the public and it’s one that won’t make us sick of him before his ascent to 11:30.

    I don’t really care about Kimmel or Fallon but, really, do you think those two have anything new to show us in an earlier time slot? Over-exposed and over-hyped is not necessarily the right way to approach a new job.

  • Mario

    Bonnie, right on!

    Leno will stay as long as he wants! He’s da man!

  • Aaron

    Monikka, do you think it’s possible that Letterman is jealous of Ferguson’s bond with Peter Lassally?

  • Drum

    Excellent post by Monikka.

    Regarding Ferguson’s online presence, a quick look through a couple of fan uploaded channels shows that he has about 80 million views, and that’s without any promotion from the network. I think it wouldn’t be far-fetched to say that if CBS decided to follow what ABC does with Kimmel on youtube he would get similar numbers.

    I’m repeating myself but i still think that problem with Ferguson and Letterman is that Letterman wasn’t a comedic influence on Ferguson, so there isn’t a mentor-protege connection like there is with Fallon,Kimmel,Conan who all said they admire Letterman.

  • Gary Middleton

    I will suggest that Dave wasn’t an influence on Fallon either, even if Fallon says otherwise. Fallon is the anti-Dave: no irony, no confrontation, wigs, sketches, musical comedy.

  • Aaron

    Interesting thing to note, I happened to be flipping channels when I noticed that there are ads for Conan’s show at Turner Field, which is where the Cardinals and Braves are playing right now. Turner pays to have their name at the Atlanta ballpark, and the playoffs are on TBS.

  • Gary Middleton

    Matt Lauer ceded first place. Now we see Brian Williams is barely hanging on. There’s actually a chance Jay Leno will be the last man clinging to a first place broadcast network show at NBC.

  • Diana Santiago

    How long until there is no way NBC can claim Jay is #1?

  • Gary Middleton

    In the demo, he probably has until January when Kimmel moves to 11:35. In viewers, he could be in the clear until his show is likely canceled in 2014. The wildcard before then would be if Dave announces his retirement, in which case I think Dave goes out at #1 in broadcast.

  • Gary Middleton

    Actually, I shouldn’t say that so quickly about total viewers, we really can’t quantify Arsenio’s impact which I figure is likely to dent Leno.

  • Elie Muller

    I have to agree with a lot if you folks about Craig Ferguson being ready to replace David Letterman because of CBS backing him up, David Letterman being jealous of his style, etc. Of course, I also agree that he doesn’t have a house band yet on his show, and he needs one badly in order to get a chance to replace Dave. Of course, the only way that he can do that is if he can get a house band that he’s had on the show before, and some band that he approves because CBS didn’t want him to have a house band; however; David Letterman wants him to have one. On top of that, Craig Ferguson not only had mentioned it on his show, but he also mentioned it when he was on Dave’s show last night before his show. Does that tell you something?

  • Eroll Muller

    Don’t forget this important fact! In 1996, David Letterman’s company wanted to produce a 1:30AM show with Jon Stewart on CBS, but it failed. Now, Craig Ferguson wants to produce a 1:30AM show for the same network with Kristen bell as the host. They’ll listen to Craig Ferguson now more than ever because David Letterman was huge for the kids in the 80’s, but now he’s for the older people. Craig Ferguson amy be old, but his show is still targeted to the younger kids, and that’s what the network wanted. If David Letterman would come on Craig’s show before he retires, and would also announce that he’ll be passing on the chair to him, then I’d think that he’ll be excited. By the way, CBS is having a holding contract with Kristen Bell as of right now. They’ll make her go on at 1:30AM and stay there for 3 years longer than Craig’s contract. By the way, a lot of people are saying that Carson Daly will go to CBS and replace him if Craig Ferguson goes to 1:30PM, and if NBC doesn’t give him 12:30AM in a least 4 years.

  • Mario

    Aaron, TBS has the boring baseball playoffs every year but it doesn’t do squat for Conan!

© 2015 Tribune Digital Ventures