For a surprisingly long chunk of 2017, the late night talk show wars were not being won solely by the juggernaut that is The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Thanks to an embrace of overtly one-sided political monologues, Stephen Colbert's Late Show crawled its way to the top of Viewership Mountain, where it perched like a proud eagle for over four weeks. Alas, nothing lasts forever, and The Late Show has now been dethroned, with Jimmy Fallon regaining his former statistics glory.
With the post-primetime week of May 29-June 2, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert celebrated Memmorial Day with a week of repeats, which no doubt played a large part in its tumble from first place in overall viewership to third place, with an average of 2.25 million viewers. That's right, with its two new episodes balancing the three repeats, Jimmy Kimmel Live! even managed to top Colbert with a 2.33 million-strong audience. The Tonight Show had a solid win here, though, with its week of reruns averaging 2.47 million viewers, according to Deadline. I guess there's no pizza this time, guys.
It had been a full 17 weeks since Stephen Colbert was first able to boast that his Late Show was being watched by more eyes than his fellow late night competitors, and he'll be starting from scratch with this week's episodes. It'll be really interesting to see if the former Comedy Central host's hold on network audience's is as strong as it seemed to be over the past few months, especially after hitting the bottom. Something tells me everything that happened during his week off will provide more than enough monologue fodder to bait all the returning viewers possible.
Of course, for all that The Late Show has taken the recent gold for total viewership, the late night stalwart still can't manage to top The Tonight Show when it comes to the key demographic of adults 18-49 years old. Jimmy Fallon and his never-ending stream of silly games and viral videos are consistently winning over advertisers' favorite age group, which is definitely as important, if not more so, than overall viewership at this level. So if Stephen Colbert doesn't regain the edge he had, the show's doom might be sealed. Or not. TV is weird like that.
You can catch The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon weeknights on NBC, while The Late Show with Stephen Colbert airs weeknights on CBS. Which one are you watching on a more regular basis? Let us know below, and then head to our summer TV schedule to figure out what you'll be watching before the late night shows get underway.
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