Stephen Colbert Takes Top Spot in First Quarter

THE LATE SHOW with STEPHEN COLBERT on CBS was late night’s #1 program during the first quarter of 2017, according to Nielsen first quarter ratings.

It’s a stunning turnaround for Colbert who trailed The Tonight Show on NBC hosted by Jimmy Fallon significantly since taking over for retired David Letterman in September 2015.

For the first quarter, THE LATE SHOW averaged 3.29 million viewers, beating out “The Tonight Show” (3.03 million) by +260,000 viewers after trailing by -840,000 viewers last year. Compared to the first quarter last year, THE LATE SHOW was up +17% (from 2.82 million).

This marks CBS’ first late night win in the first quarter since 2010. Colbert has won every week so far this year in total viewers but still trails Fallon in viewers among ages 18-49.

Colbert has been riding the waves of anti-Donald Trump sentiment as more viewers look to his political satire and jokes.

THE LATE SHOW with STEPHEN COLBERT is a production of The Late Show Inc., airs weeknights (11:35 PM-12:37 AM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Stephen Colbert, Chris Licht, Tom Purcell and Jon Stewart are the executive producers.