Stephen Colbert may bash President Trump in his monologue nightly on "The Late Show," but he also owes him a huge thank you.
Once thought to possibly be in jeopardy of losing his time slot to popular CBS teammate James Corden of "The Late, Late Show," Colbert is having a local and national rating surge opposite NBC's "Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon."
And Colbert's constant criticism of Trump may be one big reason why he is now the viewer's choice over Fallon here and nationally.
Erie County went for Hillary Clinton over Trump by a close 50-45 percent margin in the presidential race, so it isn't like Colbert's monologues bashing Trump would likely give him a huge advantage. In fact, you might think Colbert's bashing of the new president might mean a large percentage of Western New York would turn him off.
But he is still winning here, sometimes by a wide margin.
Colbert's victory here is quite a turnaround from a year ago when Fallon was a dominant No. 1 here in both household ratings and demographics. Fallon also was No.1 during the November sweeps by the same margin that Colbert was No. 1 in January, 2017.
Colbert was a big winner the night that Christine Baranski played Mrs. Chris Collins in a bit that ridiculed the local congressman's claim that Republicans were too busy having breakfast with their spouses on Valentine's Day to address the forced resignation of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
The local score that night:
Colbert: 3.7 rating on WIVB-TV, the local CBS affiliate.
Fallon: 2.7 rating on WGRZ-TV, the local NBC affiliate.
Nationally, Colbert had his highest-rating on Baranski night since Sept.22, 2015, two weeks after he officially took over David Letterman's time slot.
As of Wednesday, Colbert won 11 straight nights locally and 14 of the last 15 nights head-to-head against Fallon, whose own strength may have been hurt by playfully messing Trump's hair and asking him soft questions in the candidate's September appearance during the election season.
Additionally, Colbert had slightly stronger local ratings in January than Fallon in four of five key demographics.
Colbert does have the advantage in Western New York of following the top 11 p.m. newscast from Channel 4. But Channel 2's newscast usually has stronger demographics leading into "The Tonight Show."
And nationally, things are looking better for Colbert as well.
According to a New York Post article Wednesday, Colbert beat Fallon nationally for the second straight week and his victory margin is growing.