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Kimmel lags behind the big boys

March 07, 2003|Brian Lowry

Jimmy Kimmel's new ABC program had little impact on the late-night TV competition during the recently concluded February ratings sweeps, which again saw NBC's "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" and "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" hold commanding advantages.

Final data from Nielsen Media Research shows that "Jimmy Kimmel Live" -- which premiered Jan. 26 and airs at 12:05 a.m. following "Nightline" -- averaged 1.9 million viewers. The show is faring best among young men, surpassing CBS' "Late Late Show With Craig Kilborn" (which begins a half-hour later and averaged 1.8 million viewers) by that measure.

Leno, meanwhile, averaged 6.2 million viewers in February, compared with 4.6 million for both CBS' "Late Show With David Letterman" and "Nightline." That nevertheless represents the best February since 2000 for both Letterman and Kilborn, whose show premiered in March 1999.

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