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

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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).



  • Bill Gorman

    “On that note, what are “Nightline’s” ratings?”

    All the late night ratings info on the site is accessible through the “Late Night” link in the gray nav bar above.

  • Scott

    People just tuned to Jimmy’s show to see how he was. As has been discussed here, he isn’t very funny and a really boring host. He got the gig only because he was Jewish obviously.

  • steve burton

    Why would ABC kill Nightline? When looking at late-night ratings in the past year or so, I noticed that the venerable news program, which has slipped in quality in my opinion, often beat the competition in both viewers and demo numbers. Or is the reasoning as suggested above? That Leno and Letterman will be retiring from their respective programs in the next several years and ABC wants to have a strong show with youth appeal ready? With modern medicine and ever-growing life expectancy, why couldn’t both men work well into their 70s or even early 80s, both of which would be well into the future for both men? Just curious Bill. Love this site and always enjoying reading your perspective on things, even when I disagree.

  • JohnnyRico

    I am sure Leno and Letterman could continue into their gereatric years but since the name of the game is a18-49 and both lynchpin shows are losing money year after year the decision of retirement will have nothing to with their own choosing or health.

  • Latrell


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

    My money’s on Colbert. Dave’s contract runs out end of 2014. Craig’s contract runs out end of 2014. Colbert’s contract runs out end of 2014.

    Just throwing it out there.

  • Justin


    What I think is gonna happen is they’re going to do like with Late Late show. Get about 10 or so Comedians to host for a week each and then have Letterman/Worldwide Pants pick a winner.

  • SP

    JKL is very boring to me.

    The Tonight Show and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon is such an awesome duo that I can’t see ABC and CBS beating NBC soon.

  • steve burton

    Johnny Rico, I can only assume that Leno’s and Letterman’s programs lose money because of their large compensation packages. Their ratings are close to Nightline’s, which has frequently won in total viewers and demos. Kimmel failed to beat Leno in the demo. Once Kimmel is ensconced in his new slot, he will command a higher salary. If his demos aren’t leading the pack at that point, would JKL begin to lose money or at least see its profit margin shrink? If relatively modest pay for signficant ratings is what the networks want, why not just have on news programs. Cheaper to pay the reporters than actor/comedian hosts.

  • steve burton

    Scott, I have heard Kimmel discuss his Italian heritage, but I have never heard him reference Jewish heritage. What difference does his ethno-religious background have to do with whether he should get a job or a time slot? Personally, I think he is the most daring and funny among the late-night hosts. As for his being Jewish, there are innumerable Jewish comedians who have made Americans laugh for decades. Jerry Seinfeld, Jack Benny, Henny Youngman, George Burns, Don Rickles,to name a few.

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