Ratings For Kimmel's Debut Don't Bode Well
The final numbers are in for the first night of Jimmy Kimmel's new slot on ABC, and they are not propitious. Although early ratings from major markets had indicated that Kimmel had beaten both Jay Leno and David Letterman on Tuesday night, final figures released late Wednesday indicated that he beat only one of them -- David Letterman, whom Kimmel regards as his idol. Leno, whom Kimmel has poured scorn on in numerous recent interviews, came out well ahead among both younger viewers and total adults. In the latter category, Leno attracted 3.3 million viewers to Kimmel's 3.1 million and Letterman's 2.8 million. Among 18-49-year-olds Leno drew 1.1 million to Kimmel's 890,000 and Letterman's 683,000. What will no doubt concern ABC executives is that Leno did not bring in any heavy hitters to guest on his show Tuesday night and some of Kimmel's numbers could be attributed to the curiosity factor. (Conan O'Brien drew 9.2 million viewers in his debut as the Tonight show host in 2009, only to see most of those viewers depart in the months ahead.) Moreover, ABC's Nightline, which was bumped to 12:30 a.m., had been averaging 3.9 million viewers.