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The 10 Most Irresistible Bits From Late-Night TV (Videos)

This story first appeared in the June 21 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

What a year for late night! The beleagured Tonight show landed its (latest) heir apparent in Jimmy Fallon, and reigning ratings king Jay Leno got kinda cool for a hot minute.

Jimmy Kimmel jumped ahead an hour and shocked with an impressive debut that topped Leno's ratings and those of Kimmel's hero, David Letterman.

Emmy darling Jon Stewart, winner of the variety statuette 10 years running, saw his show outperform those of his fellow cablers once again.

But it's the 10 hosts' hottest viral moments -- ranked here -- that are making the race for late-night gold a true battle of the buzziest.

PHOTOS: Emmys: Behind-the-Scenes Photos From THR's Comedy Showrunner Roundtable

Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

TWITTER: @jimmyfallon, 8,944,458 followers

FACEBOOK: Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, 569,317 likes

YOUTUBE: Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, 453,835 subscribers

VIRAL MOMENT OF THE YEAR: "Evolution of Mom Dancing With Michelle Obama"; 15.9 million hits on YouTube.

 

Jimmy Kimmel Live!

TWITTER: @jimmykimmel, 2,630,108 followers 

FACEBOOK: Jimmy Kimmel Live, 444,733 likes 

YOUTUBE: Jimmy Kimmel Live, 2,316,425 subscribers 

VIRAL MOMENT OF THE YEAR: "I Told My Kids I Ate All Their Halloween Candy Again"; 40,800,323 hits on YouTube.

 

The Colbert Report

TWITTER: @StephenAtHome, 4,955,733 followers 

FACEBOOK: The Colbert Report, 2,952,903 likes 

YOUTUBE: Comedy Central (part of its channel), 1,921,703 subscribers 

VIRAL MOMENT OF THE YEAR: Colbert addresses Boston Marathon bombing; 892,126 hits on www.colbertnation.com.

 

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 

TWITTER: @TheDailyShow, 1,539,258 followers 

FACEBOOK: The Daily Show, 3,836,276 likes 

YOUTUBE: Comedy Central (part of its channel), 1,921,703 subscribers 

VIRAL MOMENT OF THE YEAR: Stewart skewers Mitt Romney's "47 percent" leak; 957,844 hits on www.thedailyshow.com.

 

Conan 

TWITTER: @ConanOBrien, 8,410,667 followers 

FACEBOOK: Conan O'Brien Presents: Team Coco, 2,099,260 likes

YOUTUBE: Team Coco, 709,999 subscribers 

VIRAL MOMENT OF THE YEAR: Will Ferrell gets choked up over Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson's breakup; 6,566,883 hits on YouTube.

More videos can be found on the next page.

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The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 

TWITTER: @jayleno, 567,886 followers

FACEBOOK: Jay Leno, 586,666 likes 

YOUTUBE: Tonight Show With Jay Leno, 53,666 subscribers

VIRAL MOMENT OF THE YEAR: "Pumpcast News, Part 1," 16,305,525 hits on YouTube.

 

Chelsea Lately 

TWITTER: @chelseahandler, 5,424,568 followers 

FACEBOOK: Chelsea Handler, 2,174,213 likes

YOUTUBE: Chelsea Lately, 256,321 subscribers 

VIRAL MOMENT OF THE YEAR: Handler and Conan O'Brien's naked shower fight; 2,729,171 hits on YouTube.

 

Real Time With Bill Maher

TWITTER: @billmaher, 2,149,241 followers

FACEBOOK: Bill Maher, 1,672,778 likes

YOUTUBE: Real Time With Bill Maher, 81,304 subscribers

VIRAL MOMENT OF THE YEAR: Maher and Ann Coulter debate "real racism"; 274,180 hits on YouTube.

 

The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson

TWITTER: @CraigyFerg, 1,682,514 followers

FACEBOOK: The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson, 274,142 likes

YOUTUBE: TVs Craig Ferguson, 43,501 subscribers

VIRAL MOMENT OF THE YEAR: Ferguson gives sobering cold open the night of the shooting in Aurora, Colo., on July 20; 598,875 hits on YouTube.

 

Late Show With David Letterman

TWITTER: @LateShow, 240,525 followers

FACEBOOK: Late Show With David Letterman, 431,063 likes

YOUTUBE: The Late Show With David Letterman, 14,741 subscribers 

VIRAL MOMENT OF THE YEAR: Letterman and Lindsay Lohan on going to rehab; 3,526,496 hits on YouTube.