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In his first night at the 11:35 p.m. time slot, ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel ratings exceeded that of competitors CBS’s David Letterman and NBC’s Jay Leno, according to early numbers..
Previously starting at midnight, Jimmy Kimmel’s move to an earlier time attracted more viewers than either Jay Leno’s or David Letterman’s CBS shows, according to preliminary Nielsen data provided by Business Week.
Featured on the show were actress Jennifer Aniston and the band making a huge comeback, No Doubt.
Jimmy Kimmel Live! had a rating of 2.8, equivalent to the percentage of houses it was watched in live. The Late Show with David Letterman was given a 2.7, followed by The Tonight Show with Jay Leno which had a rating of 2.4.
According to The Wall Street Journal, ABC made the decision in August to re-arrange Kimmel’s schedule because his ratings had risen in comparison to other late night talk shows. Within a year, his ratings have increased by 6% while Leno and Letterman’s have declined by 6 percent. Additionally, he had a strong following on both social media and his YouTube channel which boasts hundreds of millions of views.
The Wall Street Journal proposes that the audience gap in viewership may be due to generational differences between the talk show hosts. In fact, Kimmel at age 45 is practically 20 years younger than either of his late night competitors.
While the amount of viewers is an encouraging start for ABC, The Wall Street Journal notes that only time will whether the move will continue to generate increased audiences. Moreover, it relates that NBC’s Conan O’Brien’s move to the same 11:35 p.m. time slot in 2009 showed early promise but results were short-lived, so his show returned to its original time slot.
UPDATE: Updated numbers show that Kimmel fell just behind Leno, who had 3.27 million viewers. Kimmel had 3.1 million.