‘Jimmy Kimmel Live,’ ‘Late Show with Stephen Colbert’ Earn Late Night’s Post-Strike Ratings Crowns

A month after they got back to work and started airing post-WGA strike originals, early late night returns show good news for Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert — while in daytime, Kelly Clarkson’s move to New York was a winning strategy in its first week of new episodes.

Talk shows were among the first original programs to return to air following the resolution of the Writers Guild of America strike, with the late night shows all returning the week of Oct. 2 after a five-month hiatus. With the shows back now a month, ABC is touting that “Jimmy Kimmel Live” has won the first four weeks of the season among adults 18-49 — and that four consecutive week streak marks the show’s longest at No. 1 in the demo since more than a year ago (the weeks of May 23, 2022 through June 13, 2022).

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Helping fuel a strong October for “Jimmy Kimmel Live” was the return of “Monday Night Football” to ABC on Monday nights, providing a powerful lead-in for the talker on those nights. Kimmel won the first four weeks in 18-49 live+same day ratings with a 0.18, followed by “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” (0.17) and “Late Show with Stephen Colbert” (0.14). (At 12:37 a.m., “Late Night with Seth Meyers” averaged a 0.11.)

Colbert’s number has a bit of an asterisk attached, however, as he had to sit out most of the week of Oct. 16 due to COVID. If only original episodes are included, in live+most current numbers (which includes time-shifted viewing), Colbert gets a narrow edge with a 0.23 rating in 18-49 vs. Kimmel’s 0.22, followed by Fallon with a 0.18 — making it a neck-and-neck race.

Among total viewers, over the first four weeks in live+same day, Colbert led with 1.71 million viewers — and that even includes the week he was back in reruns. (During his three original weeks, Colbert averaged 1.89 million). Kimmel was next, with 1.59 million, then Fallon with 1.29 million. At 12:37, Meyers averaged 769,000. In live+most current, Colbert is first with 2.6 million over 13 telecasts, while Kimmel averages 1.8 million over 19 telecasts and Fallon has 1.4 million over 20 airings.

Meanwhile, in daytime, for the week of October 16 — when “Kelly Clarkson” premiered, making it the last of the major talkfests to return in the daypart post-summer and post-strike — “Live with Kelly and Mark” remained the most-watched of the bunch, with 2.24 million viewers, a 0.25 in adults 18-49 and a 0.5 in women 25-54.

Among the so-called “afternoon” yakkers (although some of them air in the morning as well), “Kelly Clarkson” returned with 1.34 million viewers (up 2% from last fall’s premiere week), a 0.16 in 18-49 and a 0.36 in women 25-54. Next up was “Drew Barrymore” (1.07 million viewers), “Dr. Phil” (883,000 viewers), “Sherri” (869,000 viewers), “Tamron Hall” (830,000 viewers), “Jennifer Hudson” (817,000 viewers), “Steve Wilkos Show” (711,000 viewers), “Maury” (657,000 viewers), “Karamo” (460,000 viewers) and “Jerry Springer” (406,000 viewers).

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