NBC chief OK with ‘Tonight Show’ as No. 2

‘I have no con­cern about it what­so­ever. Jimmy [Fal­lon]’s the great­est at what he does. He’s the most mul­ti­tal­ented en­ter­tainer for late night.’ — Bob Green­blatt, NBC En­ter­tain­ment chair­man

Los Angeles Times - - COMPANY TOWN - By Stephen Battaglio stephen.battaglio @la­times.com

“The Tonight Show Star­ring Jimmy Fal­lon” isn’t get­ting the Trump rat­ings bump that other late-night shows are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing.

But that doesn’t worry NBC En­ter­tain­ment Chair­man Bob Green­blatt, who told the Tele­vi­sion Crit­ics Assn. press tour Thurs­day that he’s happy with Fal­lon’s per­for­mance on the fran­chise even though CBS ri­val Stephen Col­bert has passed him in the Nielsen rat­ings.

“I have no con­cern about it what­so­ever,” Green­blatt said. “Jimmy’s the great­est at what he does. He’s the most mul­ti­tal­ented en­ter­tainer for late night. Clearly we’re in a news cy­cle that ev­ery day tops it­self from the day be­fore. I think that will even it­self out.”

Col­bert’s rat­ings have surged this year as the host found his comedic voice since Pres­i­dent Trump en­tered the White House. His sting­ing com­men­taries on the ad­min­is­tra­tion have made the show ap­point­ment view­ing for the an­tiTrump au­di­ence.

Ac­cord­ing to Nielsen data, NBC’s “Tonight” av­er­aged 3.173 mil­lion view­ers dur­ing the 2016-17 TV sea­son, a de­cline of 15% from the pre­vi­ous year. “The Late Show With Stephen Col­bert” av­er­aged 3.195 mil­lion view­ers, a year-over-year gain of 11%.

Po­lit­i­cal jabs have never been a spe­cialty for Fal­lon, and as a re­sult he has not seen the rat­ings surge that Col­bert and other late-night hosts who take on the pres­i­dent have ex­pe­ri­enced.

Green­blatt noted that Fal­lon re­mains the leader among view­ers in the 18to-49 age group that most ad­ver­tis­ers seek in late night. Ad­ver­tiser de­mand in gen­eral has been strong for late-night pro­gram­ming, and Fal­lon’s broad­cast is ben­e­fit­ing from that.

“Ad­ver­tiser de­mand for him has been higher than it’s ever been,” Green­blatt said.

NBC ex­ec­u­tives have said pri­vately that Fal­lon’s less po­lit­i­cally charged com­edy ap­peals to ad­ver­tis­ers who don’t want their spots to run amid con­tent that is too po­lit­i­cally charged and could alien­ate some view­ers.

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