Late Night TV Ratings For December 17-21, 2012

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

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December 31st, 2012

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

Via NBC's Press Release






UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. – December 31, 2012 – NBC’s “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" have scored season highs in viewers 18-49 and total viewers during the week of December 17-21, with both show achieving 15-week highs in adult 18-49 viewers.


In total viewers, Jay generated his biggest overall audience in 10 months and Jimmy scored his top total-viewer result in nearly three years.


Ratings were boosted last week by the Tuesday, Dec. 18 primetime finale of "The Voice" and by an appearance on the Wednesday telecast of "Tonight" by "Voice" winner Cassadee Pope. Thursday's "Late Night" featured Billy Crystal, Tyson Chandler and musical guest Cee Lo Green, who sat in with The Roots, as well as an appearance by Jerry Seinfeld.


Jay's 1.264 million adults 18-49 viewers for the week is "Tonight's" highest since September 3-7 (1.340 million), the week of a major NFL overrun, and Jimmy's 776,000 adults 18-49 is also "Late Night's" highest since that same week (855,000). Excluding weeks of major sport overruns, it's the biggest 18-49 audience for "Tonight" in 10 months (since the week of February 6-10, 1.307 million) and biggest for "Late Night" in 18 months (June 20-24, 2011, 899,000).


In total viewers, Jay's 4.057 million persons is his highest average since the week of February 6-10 (4.075 million), the post-Super Bowl week, which featured the premiere of the prior "Voice" cycle, and Jimmy's 2.029 million is his biggest overall audience since the week of January 18-22, 2010 (2.162 million).


For the week, "Tonight" and "Late Night" beat the time-period competition on ABC and CBS in all key ratings categories: adults, men and women 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54, plus total viewers.


Season to date for the 2012-13 season, "Tonight" has stretched its leads versus one year ago over CBS's "Late Show" in viewers 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54. In viewers 18-49, "Tonight" has established a margin over "Late Show" of 13 percent (1.047 million vs. 925,000), eliminating last year's "Late Show" advantage of 1 percent. Jay has also generated a 25-54 advantage this season of 10 percent (1.331 million vs. 1.215 million) after trailing by 0.2 percent at this point last year, and has stretched his 18-34 lead to 18 percent (348,000 vs. 296,000), up from last year’s 15 percent.


Jimmy Fallon has established an 18 percent lead over "Late Late Show" this season in viewers 18-49 (671,000 vs. 570,000), up from 13 percent at this point last season.


"Tonight" delivered a bigger 18-49 audience than "Late Show" for the eighth time in the last nine weeks, while Jimmy Fallon has attracted a bigger 18-49 audience than "Late Late Show" for 11 weeks in a row.




(According to in-home viewing figures from Nielsen Media Research for the week of December 17-21. 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,” 1.0 rating, 4 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,” 0.6/3

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,” 4.1 million viewers

CBS “Late Show,” 3.1 million viewers


11:35 p.m.-12 midnight ET

ABC “Nightline,” 4.0 million viewers


12 midnight-1 a.m. ET

ABC “Kimmel,” 1.8 million viewers*


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

NBC “Late Night,” 2.0 million viewers

CBS “Late Late Show,” 1.4 million viewers


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

NBC “Last Call,” 0.9 million viewers*


*Friday’s “Last Call” and Wednesday through Friday’s “Kimmels” were encores.





ADULTS 18-49


11:35 p.m.-12:35 a.m. ET

NBC “Tonight,” 0.8 rating, 3 share

CBS “Late Show,” 0.7/3


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,” 0.5/3


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

NBC “Last Call,” 0.3/2




11:35 p.m.-12:35 a.m. ET

NBC “Tonight,” 3.5 million viewers

CBS “Late Show,” 3.1 million viewers


11:35 p.m.-12 midnight ET

ABC “Nightline,” 3.9 million viewers


12 midnight-1 a.m. ET

ABC “Kimmel,” 1.9 million viewers


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

NBC “Late Night,” 1.7 million viewers

CBS “Late Late Show,” 1.5 million viewers


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

NBC “Last Call,” 0.9 million viewers







Comedy Central, 11-11:30 p.m. ET, “The Daily Show,” 0.4 with encore telecasts

Comedy Central, 11:30 p.m.-midnight ET, “The Colbert Report,” 0.3 with encore telecasts


TBS, 11 p.m.-midnight, “Conan,” 0.5


Adult Swim, 11:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. ET, 1.0

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


Each adult 18-49 rating point equals 1.27 million viewers




Comedy Central, 11-11:30 p.m. “The Daily Show,” 0.7 million with encore telecasts

Comedy Central, 11:30 p.m.-midnight ET, “The Colbert Report,” 0.6 million with encore telecast


TBS, 11 p.m.-midnight, “Conan,” 1.0 million


Adult Swim, 11:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. ET, 2.2 million

Adult Swim, 12:30-1:30 a.m. ET, 1.5 million



  • Neal

    How can Leno be insecure when he’s been the King of late night for almost 20 years?

  • Diana Santiago

    I think I see the insecurity Letterman is talking about when I see Jay’s need to humiliate other people during the Jaywalking segment. Yes, I know these people consent to being ridiculed; it doesn’t make it less humiliating.

  • Douglas in TN

    Mario, there are several reasons Jay can be insecure:

    *He went into his new gig in 1992 knowing that the Carson camp by and large detested him, and that after a few months, after his ratings started to slide (worse than Conan’s did, by the way) the NBC execs got nervous. Jay came within a whisker of losing his dream job…they offered Tonight to Letterman.

    *From day 1 he took a critical pounding for changing his act and losing many long time fans. I am among them, and never really returned.

    *For three long years he got his ratings brain pounded in by Letterman, which had to be hard.

    *Even when his numbers grew he still never got the critical praise. Although he got the one Emmy, the critical praise went to the redhead at 12:30 who had picked up Letterman’s baton and ran with it. His main competitor, Letterman, five-peated the best Emmy.

    *After twelve years, and 9 at the top, NBC suits told him he was done in 2009. An ungrateful lot.

    *I never felt he had the full support of the NBC suits with his return in 2010…they just had nothing else to do with him other than put him back at 11:30.

    *They slashed his budget this past summer, somewhat embarrassingly.

    *And now NBC is sending up trial balloons with another likely successor, another 12:30 performer. I think he knows the gig is up.

  • Gary Middleton

    “Is Dave looking in mirror when he is saying this? I think he might be talking more about himself.”

    It’s a great point, ks.

    “I do think that since Leno was fired and brought back to the Tonight Show, the lack of NBC executives support and direction, has given Leno some big insecurities.”

    I think his main source of insecurity is the ratings. Through most of his run, he could use his numbers as a massive shield. Critics don’t like me? Screw ’em, the people are with me. Network doesn’t like me? I could always take my massive numbers to another network and destroy them.

    That shield is long gone. I figure soon Jay will be too.

  • Gary Middleton

    “For three long years he got his ratings brain pounded in by Letterman, which had to be hard.”

    Not true. Dave debuted in August ’93. After about a year the gap started closing. Before the 2-year mark, Jay surged ahead and never looked back.

  • Ann

    Diana, you’re reaching IMO.

  • Gary Middleton

    Agree, Ann. It’s like saying “Henny Youngman clearly hated his wife.”

  • kscottk11

    “That shield is long gone. I figure soon Jay will be too.”

    “I think his main source of insecurity is the ratings.”

    Gary, I agree with you I think Leno will probably be gone about the same time as Letterman.

    But are Leno/Letterman’s presumed replacements Jimmy Fallon/Craig Ferguson going to do any better short term/long term?

    I think the whole late night landscape is becoming like day time talk; Too much product. Overkill.

    By the time Fallon/Ferguson take over at the 11:30 hour, how much more will the late night landscape be fragmented? Will Fallon/Ferguson be able to grab and hold onto both of Leno’s and Letterman’s audience? How much of the previous hosts’ audience will they “bleed?”

    Are any of these new hosts going to be strong enough to bring in new viewers and hold onto to the old ones?

    From a production stand point, Fallon’s show looks like an expensive show to produce musically with the Roots and the guest musicians. How profitable will these shows be with the audiences they draw?

    What effect if any will Jimmy Kimmel have on ABC?

    Are any of the current hosts or any other host strong enough to give a permanent long term ratings spike in the current 11:30 late night time-slot?

  • Gary Middleton

    Fan of your work, ks. My take is a switch would trade guaranteed bleeding for a chance of stability. It’s worth a shot, in fact I can’t imagine why they’d opt for guaranteed bleeding.

    This sentence of yours looms large: “From a production stand point, Fallon’s show looks like an expensive show to produce musically with the Roots and the guest musicians.” If it’s unprofitable at 11:35, you can only imagine how unprofitable it must be getting at 12:35, more each day. Which gives them a choice of either trying Fallon earlier, or canceling him. Seems to me you have to chance the 38-year-old over the guy who will be 65 soon.

    Having said this, I’m shocked at the outpouring of support for Jay Leno in the TMZ comments section and elsewhere. 2010 this isn’t. I guess it stands to reason that Jay could not have been so dominant from 1995 to 2009 if there wasn’t a lot of latent affection towards him in America, and Kimmel would be wise to stop evoking it.

  • Ann

    I think Jay will probably retire in 2 or 3 more years, and by that time Fallon will be ready to take the mantle.

  • Diana Santiago

    Well, I was going for the obvious “big car collection compensates for small attributes” thing, but I chose the high road instead. ;)

    All you guys can breathe at ease. Greenblatt insisted that there are no conversations with Jimmy Fallon to take over Leno, and Jay’s contract was just extended. They are confident Jay will beat Kimmel.

  • GARebelman

    Anne it has been ages since I’ve seen you post here.

    I guess one positive is that Jay/Fallon seem to actually like each other and do little contests with each other something I don’t recall Jay/Conan ever remotely doing.

  • GARebelman
  • Neal

    GAR and Diana, hopefully little premature means they play on keeping Jay till at least 2015 or 2016. I saw Fallon recently and he is clearly not ready for Tonight!

  • GARebelman

    Neal, I did see on Huffpo that one person tweeted that Jay’s contract is “beyond 2014″ according to what was heard at the Winter TCA. If that is true, I guess that does put a blow to people saying NBC is anxious to get rid of Jay. I personally think they should work on their prime time lineup. then worry about late night.

    Thinking about Kimmel’s move to 11:35, I dwell on my Atlanta market where the ABC affiate is the dominant late night news. The caveat is that my local ABC local late night news is OLDER skewing than both CBS and NBC. It’s the most watched but no knows what its demo rating is. They tended to watch Nightline here at least but who knows if they will hang around to watch Kimmel.

  • Gary Middleton

    GAR, nobody wants to be wrong on this more than I do, but I wonder if the press corps got a little confused on the contract front. When Jay’s pay was cut in Sept., there were reports that it came with an “extension to 2014″. But here we thought it already was a 5 year deal ending in 2014.

    Now B&C reports Jay is “extended through 2014″. More of the same. Then people run with a single tweet that says “extended beyond 2014″, but I can’t recall such a vague contract announcement. Whether it’s a 2 year deal like Conan and Dave recently signed, or 13 week contracts like Conan endured in the early 90s, the duration pretty much always gets reported.

    So the champagne remains on ice here. They could still lower the boom in May. In fact, I’m sure they’d prefer that to having a dead man walking situation for an extra half year by announcing it now.

    Frankly, the language of the Leno endorsement was not that emphatic. Probably less upbeat than anything they might’ve said about Ann Curry 6 months before she got canned.

  • Douglas in TN

    Does sound like NBC has signed for some more mediocrity. Pretty soon Leno will have a hard time doing those phoney high fives because he’ll need both hands on his walker.

  • kscottk11

    When and if Ferguson and Fallon eventually take over the 11:30 time slots, how will they play at that hour?

    First, on CBS, Craig Ferguson funny guy, good interviewer, but does his humor have enough broad, wide-ranging, long-term appeal at 11:30?

    On NBC, Jimmy Fallon, fun show, but do playing those cutesy “Price is Right” games and doing impressions and “sing-a-longs” have longevity at the 11:30 hour?

    Where would Fallon broadcast from? Stay in New York or move out West To California.

    What about booking quests? If Fallon is in L.A., how would booking quests first, play out with the other late night shows?

    If he stays in NY, will guests want to fly out East to do just to do his show second after they’ve already done press/interviews in the West?

    How would Fallon’s show play in L.A.?

    With morning/night time daily talk shows, people get comfortable with hosts/shows, and get used set viewing habits and viewing patterns. Would change upset people’s late night viewing habits?

    Will a Fallon/Ferguson change upset the late-night audiences’ viewing choices and permanently lose them?

    Some questions executives might want ask when they’re making transitions with new hosts. NBC might want to use their last Today/Tonight show transitions as models of WHAT NOT TO DO.

  • Diana Santiago

    GAR, according to today’s presentation, Greenblatt thinks that he already fixed primetime. He bragged about being #1 and lowering his median demo.

  • Gary Middleton

    OK, if you read the whole stream of the guy whose tweet was taken out of context, I believe it’s very clear that Jay’s contract was not extended beyond 2014.

    He was doing a shorthand of what Greenblatt was saying. Greenblatt was referencing his “extension (to 2014)” that was announced in September.

    Makes sense, because obviously if a Leno contract extension was announced today, that would have been heard by more than one guy in the room. One guy tweeting at the speed of light.

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