Last February, Stephen Colbert’s Late Show got higher ratings than Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show for the first time, coming off a steady increase in Colbert’s ratings that began at about the same time as Donald Trump’s poorly attended inauguration. From there, The Late Show topped all of its competitors during February’s “sweeps” period for the first time in seven years (predating Colbert), and the winning streak basically never stopped after that. The boost was largely attributed to Colbert’s political takes, allowing him to make use of the talents he perfected on Comedy Central’s Colbert Report, but he noted last April that he would’ve preferred “a better president” to beating Fallon week after week.
Now, a year after the beginning of his winning streak, Colbert is still crushing his hair-tousling competitor over on NBC. According to Vulture, Colbert’s ratings have jumped 20 percent over where they were a year ago, and he’s averaging 4.02 million “DVR-adjusted viewers” per night—making it the best ratings for The Late Show during the first quarter of the year since 2007. Fallon is currently sitting at 2.76 million and Jimmy Kimmel on ABC is sitting at 2.35 million, so Colbert’s lead is even bigger than it was last year.
All of that being said, Fallon is still beating everybody in the all-important “adults-under-50 demographic,” so he’s still doing pretty good as far as advertisers and network executives are concerned, but even that lead is starting to shrink. Colbert is also grabbing a little more territory online, with digital clips from The Late Show gradually catching up to The Tonight Show.