Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

Jimmy Kimmel Beats Leno and Letterman in 11:35 Debut

After airing at midnight for a decade, Jimmy Kimmel Live began running at 11:35 last night for the first time. With Jimmy Kimmel now squaring off directly with rivals Jay Leno and David Letterman, it looks like he won the first bout. These are still early ratings, but, according to The Wall Street Journal, Kimmel's show was viewed in 2.8% of households. Leno and Letterman fell closely behind with 2.7% and 2.4 %, respectively. It's expected that Kimmel's first show would score high and the audience will probably fall off significantly after this, but it's still great news for Kimmel, the show, and ABC. The last late night host to make a debut at 11:35 was Conan O'Brien at the start of his ill-fated Tonight Show stint in 2009, and he drew a big audience at first also before his numbers drastically decreased. Kimmel is 45 and a two decades younger than Letterman, 65, or Leno, 62, and his success could indicate a generational shift in the late night world. The NY Daily News reported last month that NBC is exploring the option of replacing Jay Leno with heir to the throne Jimmy Fallon, who's 38. If Jimmy Kimmel continues to top Leno and Letterman in the ratings, you can expect NBC to try to make that move a hell of a lot sooner.

UPDATE 1/9, 4PM EST: Final ratings are in, and it looks like Kimmel beat Letterman but narrowly lost to Leno.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/phil.melton Phil Melton

    Looks like you jumped the gun. From The Wrap: "Jay Leno had the last laugh on Jimmy Kimmel's first night in his new 11:35 p.m. timeslot: Though Kimmel initially appeared to have scored the most viewers Tuesday, that distinction ultimately went to "The Tonight Show."

    "Jimmy Kimmel Live" had 3.097 viewers compared to 3.274 million for Leno. Kimmel did beat his late-night hero, David Letterman. "The Late Show" had 2.882 million viewers.

    Preliminary Nielsen numbers measuring showed Kimmel beating Leno and Letterman, but updated numbers showed Leno scoring more viewers."

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Anna-Devane/1408638993 Anna Devane

    You should change that headline as Leno beat both Kimmel and Letterman but for some reason YOU PEOPLE CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!