The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
is now two episodes in and is, by all accounts, off to resoundingly positive start. Fans of Colbert’s Comedy Central show who were worried that a move to late night might diminish Colbert’s comedy quotient will clearly have nothing to worry about. Colbert doesn’t seem to have lost a step and is clearly at the top of his comedic game, masterfully blending his unique sense of humor with a pointed intellect that’s unrivaled in late night.
So while fans of Stephen Colbert thankfully have nothing to worry about, the same can’t be said of Colberts late night competition, specifically Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel.
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The ratings from Colbert’s premiere episode are in and he absolutely crushed it. According to Entertainment Weekly, an impressive 6.6 million people tuned in to watch Colbert’s first episode. To put that figure into context, that’s more than double the viewership for Fallon (2.9 million) and more than triple the viewership for Kimmel (1.7 million).
The Late Show was up 203 percent in viewers compared to the same night last year when the show was hosted by David Letterman. Compared to last year’s Late Show premiere (which fell on Sept. 22), Tuesday’s telecast was up 131 percent.
The performance marks the largest Late Show Tueday audience among adults 18-49—excluding Letterman’s final week—since July, 1995.
Going forward, it’ll be interesting to see at what level Colbert’s ratings level off at. It may be too soon to say with certainty, but I think that Colbert is the new top dog in late night. While Fallon might be able to keep up, I wouldn’t be surprised if Kimmel’s ratings start to fall precipitously.
If you happened to miss the first episode, which featured guests as varied as George Clooney and Jeb Bush, you can check out most of the show’s clips over here on the Late Show’s YouTube channel.