Where have all the viewers gone in late night in Western New York?
That’s the question after comparing the results for the three network talk shows hosted by NBC’s Jimmy Fallon, CBS’ Stephen Colbert and ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel to the results a year ago when David Letterman was saying his goodbyes on CBS.
During the just-completed February sweeps, all three late night programs suffered significant losses from a year ago.
Collectively, the ratings for the three programs were down about 25 percent from a year ago.
NBC’s “Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon” is in first place with a 3.1 rating on Channel 2, down almost 25 percent from the 4.0 he had in February of 2015. Fallon, however, does get an additional 0.7 ratings points for viewing up to seven days later. He is the only one in the time slot getting a big delayed viewing boost.
CBS’ “Late Show with Stephen Colbert” is in second place with a 2.7 rating on Channel 4, down about 30 percent from the 3.8 rating that Letterman had in his final February sweep. Colbert only gained 0.1 from viewing up to seven days after the program aired.
ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” is in third place with a 1.6 rating on Channel 7, down about 15 percent from the 1.9 a year ago. He didn’t get any rating for viewing up to seven days later.
It is a similar story for the two talk shows that air at 12:35 a.m. after Fallon and Colbert are finished.
“The Late Late Show with James Corden” on Channel 4 wins the time slot in his first February sweeps with a 1.4 rating, but that is down more than 20 percent from the 1.8 rating a year ago.
“Late Night with Seth Meyers” averaged a 1.3 rating on Channel 2, down about 30 percent from the 1.9 a year ago.
ABC’s “Nightline” rose from a 0.9 to a 1.1, which isn’t that big a surprise since it is a news program and this is a presidential election year.
There are potential reasons for the talk show losses.
Of course, WNYers may be going to bed earlier.
Perhaps they also are already growing tired of the evolving late night talk show format.
WNYers may also not be instant fans of Colbert or his politics, though his show is improving almost nightly.
Perhaps viewers are finding their laughs by watching the entertaining, cringeworthy political debates and the subsequent analysis.
But the bigger reason for the decline might be the fact that viewers now know that anything of interest or significance will be immediately posted on the internet in brief clips that don’t require them to watch the entire hour.
Why watch the entire hour if you know one of Fallon’s comedy singing appearances or Corden’s Car Pool Karaoke bit with Adele or Elton John will be available almost immediately on the internet?
In other broadcast network news, NBC’s “Today” and the “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” continue to dominant locally.
In the morning, “Today” had a 7.4 rating on Channel 2, which is more than the combined rating for ABC’s “Good Morning America” (3.8) on Channel 7 and “CBS This Morning” (3.0) on Channel 4. “GMA” was the only network morning program to improve its rating from a year ago, with CBS’ “This Morning” and “Today” both losing more than a rating point each.
In the nightly news competition, Holt’s broadcast is first with a 10.4 rating on Channel 2, which was down from a 12.1 a year ago. The CBS Evening News (8.3) and ABC’s World News (5.4) both saw slight ratings increases here from a year ago.