Jimmy Kimmel beats Jay Leno and David Letterman in new time slot

By Daniel S Levine,

ABC’s gamble to have Jimmy Kimmel Live! directly compete with CBS’ The Late Show with David Letterman and NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jay Leno appears to have paid off, at least in the early going. The show’s first night at 11:35 p.m. topped both late night staples.

According to Businessweek, Kimmel drew a 2.8 total rating, based on early Nielsen data. Leno drew a 2.4 and Letterman had a 2.7.

Kimmel won by a wider margin in the advertiser coveted 18-49 demographic, drawing a 1.0 rating, notes Deadline. Leno had a 0.8 rating, while Letterman had a 0.6.

ABC decided in August that Kimmel would move from 12:35 a.m. to 11:35 p.m. to have him go head-to-head with Leno and Letterman.

His first episode at the new time included an interview with Jennifer Aniston, during which the two talked about their vacation in Cabo. Aniston also gave Kimmel a haircut.

Other celebrities scheduled to appear on his show this week include Ryan Gosling, Mark Wahlberg, Jamie Foxx, Sofia Vergara and No Doubt. Kim and Kourtney Kardashian are also scheduled to appear.

As part of the move, ABC’s Nightline will not compete with CBS’ The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

UPDATE: The Wrap reports that updated Nielsen statistics show that Leno actually beat Kimmel in total viewers with 3.274 million. Kimmel had 3.097 million.

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