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A month later, Jimmy Kimmel is holding his own

February 07, 2013|By Yvonne Villarreal

This post has been updated. See below for details.

A month later, Jimmy Kimmel is unpacked in his new time slot digs — and giving his neighbors on the late-night block something to talk about.

"Jimmy Kimmel Live's" move to 11:35 p.m. has paid off big for ABC and added bounce to the battle for late night, long a predictable tug-of-war between Jay Leno and David Letterman.

In its most recent week (Jan. 28-Feb. 1), the late-night talker was second to "The Tonight Show" in adults 18-49 (1.081 million verses 911,000 for "Kimmel") and third in total viewers with 2.5 million, behind Leno (3.5 million viewers) and Letterman (3.1 million viewers).  

VIDEO: Jimmy Kimmel vs. Matt Damon: A video history

Kimmel’s inroads over Letterman have been felt since the beginning of the move.  Its Jan. 8 bow in the time slot brought in 3.1 million viewers (a 59% jump over its usual audience at midnight) over Letterman's 2.9 million viewers. And in the advertiser-cherished 18-49 demo, Kimmel outpaced Letterman by 30%, a pattern that hasn’t changed much.  Over the span of the "Kimmel's" first four weeks in the new slot, it has on average out-delivered Letterman by 154,000 in adults 18-49. In total weekly viewers, the race between the two is tighter.

A highly publicized visit from Matt Damon on Jan. 24 also brought a boost for "Kimmel," pushing him to No.1 among all-late night programs in households and adults 18-49.

Could late-night's regular viewers be turning in the old for the new? It's too soon to tell. But versus a year ago in the same month, Letterman has taken the biggest hit in the 18-49 demo with the addition of Kimmel — down 21%. In total viewers, "Late Show" was down 7%. Leno's drop-off was less significant, down 6% in the 18-49 demo and 4% in total viewers.

But Kimmel doesn’t seem to want to pay too much attention to it all. Last month during a stop on the set of his show during the Television Critics Assn., the 45-year-old host likened the extra attention being paid to the Late Night wars to a sporting event — saying people like the “drama.” He also told reporters he expects to settle into third place eventually, behind hero David Letterman.

“Johnny Carson retired with the crown," he said. "There’s no king of late night."


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[For the record: 11:38 a.m. Feb. 8, 2013: An earlier version of this post stated “Kimmel” was second to Leno for the most recent week (Jan. 28- Feb. 1) in total viewers. It now relflects he came in at No. 3, behind Letterman's "Late Show."]


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