ABC's 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' Outdraws Letterman and Nearly Catches Leno

Categories: 1-Featured,Network TV Press Releases

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January 9th, 2013

via press release:

Tuesday, January 8, 2013: ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live”

Based on Nielsen’s True Fast National Ratings



ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” Kicks Off its New Slot with its 2nd-Biggest Audience Ever


“JKL” Beats CBS’ “Letterman” and Significantly Closes the Gap with NBC’s “Leno”


“JKL” Surges Over its Previous Time Slot by 59% in Viewers and 33% in Young Adults


“Jimmy Kimmel Live”

On Tuesday, January 8, 2013, ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” attracted 3.097 million viewers on its first day in its new 11:35 p.m. time slot, marking its 2nd-most-watched telecast ever.


  • “JKL” grew over its season average in its previous 12:00 a.m. time slot by 59% in Total Viewers (3.097 million vs. 1.942 million) and by 33% in Adults 18-49 (887,000 vs. 667,000).


  • “Jimmy Kimmel Live” ran neck-and-neck with NBC’s “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” (3.097 million vs. 3.274 million), as only 177,000 Total Viewers separated the two programs on Tuesday. In fact, “JKL” slashed nearly all of its Total Viewer gap with the NBC program on Tuesday versus its season gap in its previous time period (-89% - 177,000 vs. 1.591 million), while cutting its gap among young adults by half (-48% - 197,000 vs. 381,000).


  •  “Jimmy Kimmel Live” beat CBS’ “The Late Show with David Letterman” by 7% in Total Viewers (3.097 million vs. 2.882 million) and by 30% in Adults 18-49 (887,000 vs. 683,000).


  • In the 25 markets with Local People Meters, “JKL” ranked No. 1 in its time period in Adults 18-49 in 13 markets, including the No. 1 U.S. market: New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, San Francisco, Atlanta, Houston, Seattle, Miami, Cleveland, Orlando, Sacramento and Baltimore. In Households, “JKL” won its time slot in 8 of the Top 10 markets, including each of the Top 4 (NY, LA, CH, PH).



Source: Nielsen Media Research, (Live + Same Day, Fast National Program Ratings, 1/8/13).



  • yragcom1

    I watched for curiosity’s sake, but Kimmel’s actually pretty boring compared to Dave and Jay. I can’t see him lasting long without a coup interview of some sort.

  • GARebelman

    I knew a press release was coming. I see they didn’t show the break down of Jay’s demo vs. Kimmel but they did vs Letterman? Though I am surprised they showed Jay actually beat Kimmel in overall audience.

  • jcfreder

    “while cutting its gap among young adults by half (-48% – 197,000 vs. 381,000).”

    I assume this (and the fact the release does not say “JKL beat Leno in the demo) means JKL lost the demo to Leno.

  • onion

    These “Fast National” ratings count only 11:35 – 12:35 timezone?
    or original airing timezone(11:34-12:36 for Jay and 11:35-12:37 for Letterman) ?

  • GARebelman

    I’m assuming Jay beat Kimmel in the Demo because they didn’t harp on it.

  • Sax

    Surprised that JKL was #1 in my market since my ABC station is relatively weak. But, that aside, JKL is often as funny if not funnier than Jay Leno IMO.

  • GARebelman

    Bill Gorman – Safe assumption to make regarding Jay/Kimmel and who won by the fact that they didn’t say anything about it unless I am mis-reading that press release?

  • Joseph

    This initial success for Jimmy Kimmel at 11:30 P.M. (ET/PT) won’t last.

    Within a few weeks, Jimmy Kimmel will sink to a distant third at 11:30 P.M., and “Nightline” will also sink in it’s new later timeslot.

    I expect that by September, “Nightline” will be back at 11:30 and Kimmel (unless he leaves ABC in protest to having his show pushed back) back at 12 Midnight.

  • ralphie

    Don’t forget this is his first night so this probably won’t last. Look what happened with Conan. He did really well then the ratings slipped so this is probably gonna be the same thing. He will probably slip behind both Jay and Dave.

  • Bern

    Great job at JKL! Saw it last night and it was funny like always. I only see Jay Leno and David Letterman if a favorite celebrity appears on their show beside that I don’t watch them.
    This is how I rank the late-night shows:
    1. Jimmy Kimmel Live! (hilarious)
    2. Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (funny)
    3. The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (great)
    4. The Late Show with David Letterman (good)
    5. Late Late Show Show with Craig Ferguson (boring/stupid)
    6. Last Call with Carson Daly (boring)

  • Artie Bagada`

    Jimmy Kimmel is notorious for repeats and not working on Fridays. That will not fair well at this new time slot.

  • Katie

    I personally think Jimmy Kimmel is much much funnier than Letterman and Leno. I don’t find either one of them that funny especially Letterman. I find him incredibly boring and doesn’t do anything fun. Jimmy Kimmel does a bunch of skits and videos and has fun with things.

  • Nick

    So basically, nothing happened. Kimmel took some of Leno’s audience, but from the looks of it, none of his demo. If Kimmel couldn’t even beat Leno in total viewers or any demo on his first night, this doesn’t bode well at all for him.

    On the other hand, with a 1.1 at 10pm, it could have been a lot worse. Regardless, looks like Leno will remain the King of Latenight, while Kimmel and Letterman will be battling it out regularly for 2nd.

  • Nick

    Meanwhile, this means Leno got 1,084,000 in the 18-49 demo. That’s fantastic for him. I know Tuesday has always been a strong night for him, but it’s still fantastic that he held up so well. The King.

  • chris

    I thought Nightline was a strong performer keeping up or beating both cbs and nbc?

  • howie

    ABC is looking down the road as Dave and Jay will both be retiring in the next 5 years (or even sooner) Then its anyone’s guess who will come out on top.

  • Patrick G.

    @ Bill Gorman…Far more likely that the decision to end Nightline has already been made and the move later is the beginning of the end.

    On that note, what are “Nightline’s” ratings? I actually like the show, though am a bit sad it has become just an expansion of the same stories that are aired a few hours earlier on “ABC World News.” How does ABC think viewers will want to watch a news show that is just repeating stories from their evening news? Stupid! If they showed original content, then maybe “Nightline” wouldn’t be faltering.

  • Bumfuzzled

    Jimmy gets a surge from the rubber neckers.

    Leno will continue to dominate. Meanwhile, Grumpy old Dave is one step closer to retirement.

  • Tested

    ABC has to be very happy with this. Jay and Dave likely won’t be doing their show 5 years from now. Kimmel is in a good spot to win that time period when they move on.

  • Natrix

    I’m a BIG Letterman guy but greatly disappointed as to how he doesn’t even really try anymore. Just collecting a paycheck. Nobody can make great television moments like Letterman, but he’s just too worn and disinterested. I just think he won’t know how to adjust to life without a show and thus is just hanging around.

    Leno looks worn out, overweight, and still seems to be tired from the whole Late Night fiasco.

    Kimmel, while I overall admire his work ethic, effort and understanding of Late Night Lore, I haven’t really been able to really get into him yet. This move might definitely push NBC into making Fallon take the Tonight Show sooner for that younger audience.

    Question is CBS and Dave’s successor. Craig is quite old too so they might not want to take a chance on him.

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