Monday’s “Tonight Show” was, on average, the smallest TV audience ever for an original episode of the show, according to early ratings. Jimmy Fallon attracted only 947,000 viewers in total last night.
Stephen Colbert’s “Late Show” on CBS won the evening with 2.03 million viewers, according to Nielsen’s Live + Same Day fast national numbers. ABCs “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” came in second place among the late night TV shows with 1.67 million viewers in total.
Numbers for each of these shows can be changed once the final numbers are counted. These are expected to be available Wednesday.
While this specific historical Nielsen data only dates back to 1986, it is safe to say that Johnny Carson always attracted more than a million viewers. These are very different eras. (Carson hosted “The Tonight Show” from 1962 to 1992. Jay Leno took over in ’92.)
The previous low point for an original “Tonight Show” episode came on September 25, 2020, when Fallon drew 992,000 viewers in total after a Stanley Cup Finals game. The start of this episode was slightly delayed due to live hockey coverage.
Prior to the post-hockey episode, the show’s record low came from the August 18, 2020 episode, when Jimmy drew a total of 1 million viewers on his nose.
Yes, it’s been a tough stretch for Fallon – especially in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
Fallon used to be the king of late night, but Colbert did not pass him until mid-November 2018. The “Colbert Report” alum won that season.
On Monday, Fallon welcomed guests Bill Burr, Rashida Jones and musical guest Old Dominion. Segments included “Life Coach” with Burr and Fallon’s solo gag “Go On, Git.”
Last night, Colbert interviewed Chris Rock and broadcast a performance by singer Joss Stone. Over on “Kimmel”, the guests were “This Is Us Star” Milo Ventimiglia and CNN’s Jake Tapper with Queen Naija as musical guest.
Readers can watch Fallon’s Monday monologue below. In front, Fallon addressed President Trump, who was permanently banned from Twitter and other social media platforms.
Find last night’s primetime ratings here. ABC won that day part.