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This year's midterm elections were a big win for Stephen Colbert, too

Photo: Eugene Gologursky (Getty Images)

After years of battling with late-night rival Jimmy Fallon for the fabled “demo”—i.e., adult TV viewers beneath the age of 50, whose life-giving attention is succor and solace for advertisers everywhere—Stephen Colbert finally rode that ol’ Blue Wave to victory this week. Vulture reports that, for the first time in his show’s history, Colbert’s Late Show successfully beat The Tonight Show for those coveted youthful eyeballs, spurred at least in part by his coverage of the recent election. (Colbert has already been beating Fallon in overall ratings for a while now, but this is the first time he’s managed to lure so many youngins away.)

Admittedly, it’s a narrow margin: Per Vulture, Colbert’s averaging 658,000 viewers in the demo this season, while the NBC series is getting 656,000; still, as in politics, in the world of TV ratings, a win is a win. Colbert’s even pulling ahadwhen you only look at same-day ratings; usually, he has to rely on a buffer of sleepy delayed viewers to get his numbers up. Fallon managed to take back his demo throne by the end of the week, but still: It’s the first time Colbert has managed to steal a significant portion of Fallon’s cadre of loyal youths, suggesting that the reign of televised drinking games and lip sync competitions might finally be shaking at last.


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