via press release:

For the 2010-11 TV Season, ABC Draws its Biggest Audience in Late-Night in 8 Years

Standing as the Only Broadcaster to See Year-to-Year Increases,
ABC Draws its Largest-Ever 3rd Quarter Audience in Late-Night


ABC’s “Nightline” is No.1 in Late-Night in Total Viewers
and Adults 25-54 for the 2010-11 Television Season


“Nightline” Ranks No. 1 in 3Q11 in Viewers, Marking the 4th Consecutive
Quarter to Beat NBC’s “The Tonight Show” and CBS’ “The Late Show”


ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” Turns in its Most-Watched Season in 4 Years

With Year-to-Year Gains in 5 of the Last 6 Quarters,
“JKL” is the Only Late-Night Program to Grow in Adults 18-49

ABC Late-Night (Monday – Friday)

During the recently completed 52-week TV Season, ABC grew over last season by 4% in Total Viewers (2.310 million vs. 2.226 million) to draw its largest audience in late-night in 8 years (since the 2002-03 season), marking its 2nd-most-watched season featuring the late-night lineup of “Nightline” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”


During the 3rd Quarter 2011, ABC was up over the year-ago quarter by 6% in Total Viewers (2.131 million vs. 2.010 million), generating its most-watched 3rd quarter ever in late-night. With year-to-year growth in 5 of the last 6 quarters – including the last 3 quarters – ABC stood as the only broadcaster in late-night to build its overall audience (CBS was down -5%; NBC was down -2%).


  • ABC drew a larger overall audience than CBS during the quarter in late-night (+2% – 2.131 million vs. 2.089 million).


“Nightline” (Monday – Friday)

For the 2010-11 television season, ABC News’ “Nightline” ranked as the No. 1 program in late-night in Total Viewers (3.943 million) and Adults 25-54 (1.595 million), according to Nielsen Media Research. The ABC late-night program took the top spot in Total Viewers for the season for the second time in a row, and this marks its first time ever to rank No. 1 in the key adult news demo versus NBC’s “The Tonight Show” and CBS’ “The Late Show.”  (Note: “Letterman” began on CBS in the 1993-94 season).


In addition, during the course of the 52-week 2010-11 TV season, “Nightline” ranked No. 1 in 32 weeks in Total Viewers, 29 weeks in Adults 25-54 and 27 weeks in Adults 18-49. This represents the most number of weeks at No. 1 in each of the key target demos during the course of a season, beating both “The Tonight Show” and “The Late Show.”


“Nightline” improved by 6% in Total Viewers and by 4% in Adults 25-54 compared to the 2009-10 television season, representing the ABC late-night program’s largest overall season audience in 8 years – since the 2002-03 season. Additionally, “Nightline” stood as the only late-night program to post season-to-season growth in Adults 25-54, as both CBS’ “The Late Show” (-7%) and NBC’s “The Tonight Show”(-4%) saw decreases.


  • “Nightline” defeated NBC’s “The Tonight Show” during the TV season by 95,000 Total Viewers and by 20,000 Adults 25-54. This qualifies as the first time that “Nightline” outperformed the NBC program in Adults 25-54 during a TV season in 16 years – since the 1994-95 season.


  • “Nightline” bettered CBS’ “The Late Show” during the TV season by 603,000 Total Viewers, by 159,000 Adults 25-54 and by 165,000 Adults 18-49, turning in its largest margins versus the CBS program in all three demos in 12 years – since the 1998-99 season.


During the 3rd Quarter 2011, ABC’s “Nightline” ranked No. 1 in Total Viewers (3.743 million), marking the 4th consecutive quarter for the ABC late-night program to take the top spot over NBC’s “The Tonight Show” and CBS’ “The Late Show,” according to Nielsen Media Research.


For the 3rd time in the last 4 years, “Nightline” increased from the year-ago 3rd quarter in Total Viewers (+10%) and Adults 25-54 (+2%), standing as the only late-night program among its CBS (down -5% and -8%, respectively) and NBC (-4% and -8%, respectively) late-night rivals to grow in both Nielsen measures. In fact, the ABC program attracted its most-watched 3rd quarter in 10 years and best news demo performance in 5 years – since 3Q01 and 3Q06, respectively.


  • “Nightline” defeated NBC’s “The Tonight Show” by 32,000 Total Viewers, outdrawing the NBC program for the 4th straight quarter. 


  • “Nightline” produced its largest advantages over CBS’ “The Late Show” during any quarter in 12 years in Total Viewers (+930,000) and in more than 11 years in Adults 25-54 (+256,000) – since 3Q99 and 2Q00, respectively. In addition, “Nightline” posted its largest Adults 18-49 (+198,000) lead during a 3rd quarter in 12 years – since 3Q99.


“Jimmy Kimmel Live” (Monday – Friday)

During the recently completed 52-week 2010-11 TV Season, ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” was up over last season in Total Viewers (+4% – 1.687 million vs. 1.625 million), generating its most-watched season in 4 years – since its 2006-07 season. In addition, “JKL” was up 3% among Adults 18-49 (690,000 vs. 672,000), while NBC’s “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” (-13%) and “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” (-2%), CBS’ “Late Show with David Letterman” (-11%) and “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson” (-9%) were all down from their prior seasons.


  • ABC’s “JKL” (M-F 12:00 a.m.) outperformed CBS’ “Ferguson” (M-F 12:35 a.m.) during the season by 2% in Total Viewers (1.687 million vs. 1.646 million) and by 5% in Adults 18-49 (690,000 vs. 658,000).


During the 3rd Quarter 2011, ABC’s “JKL” improved over the year-ago 3rd quarter by 4% in Total Viewers (1.519 million vs. 1.460 million) to turn in its most-watched 3Q in 5 years (since 3Q06), marking its 2nd-most-watched 3Q ever. Growing its overall audience year to year for the 6th quarter in a row,JKL” delivered the largest yearly gains among Total Viewers of any talk show in late-night. “JKL” was also up from the same quarter last year in Adults 18-49 (+1% – 592,000 vs. 585,000) for the 5th time in 6 quarters. In fact, “JKL” stood as the only late-night program to grow year to year in young adults, as NBC’s “Tonight Show” (-11%), “Fallon” (-3%) and “Last Call with Carson Daly”
(-12%), CBS’ “Letterman” (-9%) and “Ferguson” (-2%), Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” (-11%) and “Colbert Report” (-16%) and E!’s “Chelsea Lately” (-17%) were all down.


  • ABC’s “JKL” topped CBS’ “Ferguson” with its largest-ever quarter margin in Total Viewers (+10% – 1.519 million vs. 1.375 million) and led the CBS late-night program in Adults 18-49 (+6% – 592,000 vs. 561,000) for the 6th straight quarter. Additionally, “JKL” outdelivered “Ferguson” in 11 of the 12 weeks of the quarter in both viewers and young adults.


Late-Night Rank (2010-11 Season):     TOTAL VIEWERS  A18-49(000)

ABC                                    2,310,000     841,000

CBS                                    2,446,000     853,000

NBC                                    2,364,000     895,000


Late-Night Rank (3rd Qtr 2011):       TOTAL VIEWERS  A18-49(000)

ABC                                    2,131,000     731,000

CBS                                    2,089,000     730,000

NBC                                    2,268,000     823,000

Source: The Nielsen Company, Live+7 (where available) & Live+SD for 2010-11 vs. 2009-10 (9/20/10-9/18/11 vs. 9/21/09-9/19/10) and 3rd Quarter 2011 vs. 3rd Quarter 2010 (6/27/11-9/18/11 vs. 6/28/10-9/19/10). Comparisons based on 000s.

ABC Late-Night = “Nightline” and “JKL”; CBS Late-Night = “Letterman” and “Ferguson”; NBC Late-Night = “Tonight Show,” “Fallon” and “Carson Daly.”


Posted by:TV By The Numbers

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