Late Night TV Ratings For March 18-22, 2013

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

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March 28th, 2013

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

Via NBC's Press Release

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. — March 28, 2013 — “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” were #1 for the week of March 18-22 in 18-49 viewers, total viewers and other key categories versus their ABC and CBS time-period competition.

At 11:35 p.m. ET, “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” hit a seven-week high in total viewers with 3.522 million (best since Jan. 28-Feb. 1) and a four-week high in the 18-49 demo with 982,000 viewers (best since Feb. 18-22). That was better than ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” last week and CBS’s “Late Show with David Letterman” from Monday through Wednesday. CBS aired NCAA basketball tournament coverage on Thursday and Friday, and those numbers are not reflected here.

Leno has now delivered bigger 18-49 audiences than “Late Show” for the last 18 weeks in a row and topped “Jimmy Kimmel Live” for nine of their 11 head-to-head weeks. In total viewers, Leno has out-delivered “Late Show” for 22 weeks in a row and “Jimmy Kimmel Live” for 11 of 11 weeks.

At 12:35 a.m. ET, “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” defeated ABC’s “Nightline” in the head-to-head half-hour in every key ratings category: adults, men and women 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54, plus total viewers.

Fallon has now generated bigger 18-49 audiences than CBS’s “Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson” for 23 of the last 24 weeks and prevailed in total viewers for 20 of the last 22 weeks. Versus ABC’s “Nightline” in their head-to-head half-hour, Fallon has out-delivered the newsmagazine for 11 weeks in a row in viewers 18-49 and seven of the last eight weeks in total viewers.


(According to in-home viewing figures from Nielsen Media Research for the week of March 18-22. 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,” 0.8 rating, 3 share

CBS “Late Show,” 0.7/3*

ABC “Kimmel,” 0.7/3*

12:35-1:05 a.m. ET

ABC “Nightline,” 0.4/2

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,” 3.5 million viewers

CBS “Late Show,” 3.0 million viewers*

ABC “Kimmel,” 2.6 million viewers*

12:35-1:05 a.m. ET

ABC “Nightline,” 1.4 million viewers


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

NBC “Late Night,” 1.6 million viewers

CBS “Late Late Show,” 1.4 million viewers *

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

NBC “Last Call,” 0.8 million viewers*

* Thursday and Friday CBS programming was delayed by basketball and is excluded from these averages. Monday’s “Last Call” and Friday’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” 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

ABC “Kimmel,” 0.7/3**

12:35-1:05 a.m. ET

ABC “Nightline,” 0.4/2**

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,” 3.5 million viewers

CBS “Late Show,” 3.1 million viewers

ABC “Kimmel,” 2.6 million viewers**

12:35-1:05 a.m. ET

ABC “Nightline,” 1.6 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

** Since January 8.



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,” 0.3 with encore telecasts***

Adult Swim, 11:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. ET, 0.9

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,” 0.8 million with encore telecasts

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

TBS, 11 p.m.-midnight, “Conan,” 0.7 million with encore telecasts***

Adult Swim, 11:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. ET, 2.0 million

*** Thursday’s “Conan” was delayed by NCAA basketball and is excluded from these averages.



  • Ann


    I don’t think anyone really knows what that clause encompasses. I’m just saying that the negative publicity could bring NBC to the negotiating table and it might be worth it to them to let Jay out of that clause.

    The difference in the last situation is that NBC dangled the carrot of a 10:00 show in front of Jay to keep him going to another network and keep his staff working. That’s not in play this time. In fact Jay now has leverage that he didn’t have before.

  • Douglas in TN

    What leverage? His contract is coming to an end next year.

    There’s brou-ha-ha about Fox clamoring for him, but it’s empty.

    What leverage, really, does a guy with less than a million viewers in the demo have?

    These days, even with handfuls of Emmys, Peabodys, and a Kennedy Center Honor, Letterman might have a hard time writing his own ticket.

  • Ann

    The leverage he has is to stay and NBC gets bad publicity. NBC IMO has shown their hand in wanting him to leave sooner than his contract stipulates.

    It’s the same situation that Conan had when NBC decided they wanted him gone. Conan decided to take the pay out and stay off TV. Jay make be less interested in a pay out and more interested in being able to go to another network right away.

  • Douglas in TN

    I just don’t see any leverage.

    I also don’t see NBC keeping him in any manner whatsoever after the last incident. Just finished a biography of Walter Cronkite, with details of his post “Evening News” holding contract with CBS. In short, Cronkite regretted signing that contract, it seems, every day for the rest of his life.

  • Douglas in TN

    I just don’t see any leverage. As Gary has written, accurately, he’s fired…just in an awkward position where he has to fulfill that contract he probably should not have signed last year. Surely he knew what was coming.

    Interesting nobody’s really floated NBC keeping him around in some manner, like NBC did with Hope and Berle, and CBS with Cronkite. Just finished a Cronkite biography with details on his post evening news contract. In short, a miserable experience for Cronkite. Can’t imagine Leno signing one of those, or NBC even being interested.

  • Douglas in TN

    Sorry for the double post…weird internet issues here tonight.

  • Ann

    Well, Douglas, I guess we will agree that we disagree.

    Time will tell who’s right. :)

  • anonymous

    If NBC wants to feature Fallon’s Tonight Show during the winter olympics, they will have to negotiate with Leno for an early exit on terms that Leno can accept, or else he will stick around til the last day of his contract and ruin their plans for a grand Fallon feature.

  • Douglas in TN

    Jay steal somebody’s thunder? Is that possible?

  • Nick

    Wait…so does Leno’s contract end in May or September?

    I could see him going to CNN. Moreso than FOX, mainly because CNN is desperate. They would gladly take a Conan-level rating.

  • Ann

    Variety says Sept. 2014

  • anonymous

    Maybe a late night first, but Wednesday, Colbert beat Daily Show 0.7 to 0.6.

  • Gary Middleton

    I believe Jay has no leverage and no Fox opportunity, and that any cable offer to him is insignificant. Best thing he can do for himself and his staff is to show up for work until the very last second of his contract.

    If he wants to make NBC uncomfortable, he should skip all the NBC jokes and just put on the best show he can, keep winning in the ratings, basically look like a show that the network would seem nuts to cancel.

    Another great call by JC on last week, though obviously Leno won by a significantly bigger margin than predicted. Not that anyone needs to make an excuse for Jay’s victories, as they’ve been happening every week, but maybe some people have been tuning in to see what he does or doesn’t say about the NBC developments.

  • Gary Middleton

    “Interesting nobody’s really floated NBC keeping him around in some manner, like NBC did with Hope and Berle”

    Would imagine one big difference is that was an era of variety and specials. A lot harder to find a viable place for that kind of thing now.

    I do think NBC would be wise to keep Jay, basically doing his Tonight Show format, for 10 pm when they’re in between dramas. The way they used Dateline years ago. They won’t, of course.

  • Ann

    I don’t think Jay is ready to retire which is certainly his choice, and given the way NBC has treated him, he certainly doesn’t owe them anything.
    Barbara Waters is retiring at 83 not 63. Regis Philbin was 79 when he “retired”.

    As I’ve said, time will tell how much leverage Jay has.

    I will never understand the reasoning behind expecting him to lay himself down on some sacrificial altar as if it’s his duty. I really can’t recall anyone who is number one in the ratings required to do that.

  • bonnie blue

    Ann: I will never understand the reasoning behind expecting him to lay himself down on some sacrificial altar as if it’s his duty. I really can’t recall anyone who is number one in the ratings required to do that.


    Well said, Ann. I also think Jay has leverage. I think he could go to CNN, and do them a lot of good!

  • 22

    “As Gary has written, accurately, he’s fired…”

    So naive. You can’t “fire” Microsoft or Wallmart.
    Only you can discontinue or cancel contracts with them.
    It’s a common mistake to think of Leno as a single person (in our context).

    “So why in the world did they extend Leno’s contract last year to begin with?”
    Biggest question of them all. ”

    Why is this a question at all? It’s easy and on the surface.

    “it has been NBC execs leaking to the media privately while denying the reports publicly”.

    It was not Bob Greenblatt.
    Cui prodest?
    Hint – not Jimmy Fallon as a person. Look whose business is Jimmy.
    Probably new studio construction is a part of a deal to cancel Tina Fey’s show. Lorne Michaels’ wish is to wait until Fall ’14? Understandable, cause he needs some certain time to prepare his another Ken or Barb to fill in. It would take some time to build, say, Seth Meyers’ image of a valid candidate for the LN. So far Seth is best known for good writing for SNL and shouting out “Weekend Update”.

  • Ann

    Thanks, Bonnie.

    USA Today:

    “The execs, like the critics, have never acknowledged Leno’s impressive late-night legacy. He has propped up NBC for years.

    After months of speculation, the end of Jay Leno’s reign as host of NBC’s Tonight Show is now certain. The ever affable Jimmy Fallon takes over television’s longest-running entertainment program sometime in 2014 when Leno’s contract runs out.

    Television critics and media observers have resented Leno since 1992 when he got the gig instead of David Letterman. They have never shown him the respect he deserves. In the parallel universe they’ve created, David Letterman was the rightful heir to Johnny Carson’s throne, and is, therefore, the king of late night.

    Letterman himself recently acknowledged Jay’s comedic prowess, telling Oprah he thinks Leno is “the funniest guy I’ve ever known.” But not the critics. You would think from what they write, Leno has been a mere interloper, a bit player in late night.

    In fact, he continues tobe No. 1 in the ratings,even in the coveted 18-49 demographic, despite NBC’s dismal decade-long primetime schedule, which recently dropped into fifth, well behind the Spanish-language network Univision.

    What critics don’t understand is how the business works, so let’s set the record straight. NBC chose Leno to replace Johnny Carson because the network believed he would do a better job than Letterman, not because Leno somehow manipulated the selection process, as Leno’s detractors suggest.

    Then GE Chairman Jack Welch was the one who hired Leno. Welch later told me he had a gut feeling Leno was the better man, and that Letterman seemed “uncomfortable in his own skin.” Welch was a bottom-line guy, and by those standards he was right. Letterman’s supporters, like Los Angeles Times critic Robert Lloyd see their guy as an artist: “There is no desperation in his presentation; he does not need to impress you, or the celebrities who sit next to him.”

    Leno, on the other hand, believes he does need to impress you. To him, show business is as much about the business as the show, and his primary job is to deliver the most demographically-correct viewers. Art has nothing to do with it.

    Leno has always reached out to his entire audience, including people in the red, flyover states. But critics dismiss those Leno stalwarts as unworthy viewers because they aren’t capable of understanding the sophisticated humor of Letterman and John Stewart. I happen to think those guys are funny, but shouldn’t Leno get a little credit? Except for a seven-month stretch in 2009-2010 when Conan O’Brien hosted the show, Leno has had the most viewers in late night for 18 straight years,

    Leno, an admitted social liberal/fiscal conservative, advises guests on his show not to cut off 50% of their potential audience by doing only left-leaning jokes. In the great tradition of Johnny Carson, he has consistently delivered the most political, yet even-handed monologue in the business.

    It’s no secret Hollywood favored Barack Obama in the recent presidential election, and Leno’s competitors almost never did jokes about Obama, while doubling down on Mitt Romney zingers. Leno’s monologue spared none of the candidates — including Obama — throughout the election cycle. My favorite was a one-liner about ObamaCare: “You think health care is expensive now. Wait ’til it’s free.” Yet, Leno is criticized for doing “safe jokes.”

    Leno also pioneered the idea of interviewing presidential candidates during primary and presidential elections. His biggest achievement: booking Obama on March 19, 2009 — his 59th day in office — the first late-night appearance by a sitting president.

    Last year Leno’s political bookings were way out in front of his competitors. His “gets” included an exclusive late-night interview with Mitt Romney, almost all of the other GOP presidential hopefuls and President Obama, as well as Michelle Obama and Ann Romney.

    NBC has a right to replace Leno with Jimmy Fallon, a genuinely funny guy, even though I think it’s short-sighted. But the execs, like the critics, have never acknowledged Leno’s impressive late-night legacy. He has propped up their sorry network for years, despite their best efforts to run its primetime schedule into the ground with such recent ratings downers as Smash and Do No Harm.

    In January, NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt denied there were any talks with Fallon to replace Leno, then got upset when Leno did jokes about the network’s poor ratings. Leno shot back by calling NBC executives “snakes.” But I don’t agree. Snakes aren’t that bad.

    Dave Berg worked 18 years as a co-producer for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. He’s now writing a book about it.”

  • Nick

    I’m excited to read that book. Fantastic article, couldn’t be more right. People never give Leno enough credit. He’s consistently labeled as safe when his one-liners are far and above the funniest in the business.

  • bonnie blue

    Ann, thank you so much for posting that. That’s one I had not read! Truer article has never been written! Does anyone else feel “gaining support” for Jay this time around? I do … Howard Kurtz said somewhat the same on “Reliable Sources” last Sunday. I’m so glad; Jay got a lot of blame that he should not have with the Conan debacle.

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