‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ Hits Season High, Widens Demo Lead Over Letterman

Rick Kissell

As it approaches the one-year anniversary of airing in an earlier timeslot, ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” hit 10-month rating highs last week and improved its standing in key demos with NBC and CBS.

Nielsen estimates that “JKL” averaged 2.86 million viewers and 1.05 million adults 18-49 — rising 15% and 29% respectively week to week. These are the best regular-timeslot deliveries for the show since its first week airing at 11:35 p.m. in January.

In 18-49, Kimmel pulled to within about 60,000 viewers of “Tonight Show With Jay Leno” and widened the gap over CBS’ third-place “Late Show With David Letterman.” Week to week, Kimmel’s audience surged 29% in adults 18-49 and 15% in total viewers; as a result, his advantage in 18-49  over Letterman grew from 9% to 32%.

“JKL” also led among the latenight broadcast talkshows in adults 18-34 (378,000 to 355,000 for runner-up “Tonight”).

For the first nine weeks of the television season, “JKL” has built sharply on its year-ago average (when the show started 25 minutes later) in both adults 18-49 (+86%) and total viewers (+63%) .

Barbara Walters, Josh Gad and Fall Out Boy were the guests on Monday’s show, which drew a week’s best 3.18 million viewers. In adults 18-49, the top draw was Tuesday’s show with Elizabeth Banks, Larry King and Daughtry (1.18 million), which may benefited from ABC’s stronger-than-usual showing in primetime that night with a David Blaine magic special.

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