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‘After Midnight’ Opening Week Ratings: #ThisIsFine

The first week of After Midnight on CBS brought in viewing numbers that are, well, about what would be expected for a network show airing at 12:37 a.m. in 2024.

The show, an expanded and updated take on Comedy Central’s @midnight that’s hosted by Taylor Tomlinson, averaged 579,000 same-day viewers for its first three installments, according to Nielsen. The Jan. 16 premiere drew 686,000 viewers, based on preliminary figures, which would mean the subsequent two episodes averaged about 525,000 viewers.

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Delayed viewing numbers are somewhat rosier: After three days (and not including streaming), After Midnight rose to 819,000 viewers for its first week. Its DVR lift of 240,000 viewers is more than three times bigger than that of The Late Late Show With James Corden (77,000) in the 2022-23 season.

After Midnight is CBS’ replacement for The Late Late Show, which ended its 28-year run, the last eight with Corden as host, in April 2023. The show takes a tour through Internet culture, with comedians riffing on TikTok posts, influencers and other online ephemera. CBS announced Wednesday that After Midnight and its lead-in, The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, will both get Super Bowl Sunday showcases, airing in their regular time periods following local news that night.

The same-day, on-air ratings for After Midnight‘s first week fall short of Corden’s final season of The Late Late Show, which averaged about 800,000 nightly viewers (although again, delayed viewing closes the gap considerably). But given the ongoing declines in night-of, linear TV viewing, the early returns on After Midnight aren’t that surprising.

The other 12:30-ish network show, NBC’s Late Night With Seth Meyers, is drawing 795,000 viewers per night with new episodes this season. At 11:35 p.m., The Late Show leads with 1.85 million viewers per night, beating out ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! (1.59 million) and NBC’s Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (1.32 million). Including delayed viewing (over seven days for most of the season), The Late Show rises to 2.58 million; Jimmy Kimmel Live! to 1.77 million; The Tonight Show to 1.43 million; and Late Night to 970,000. No seven-day figures for After Midnight are available yet, but it will add some more viewers to the 819,000 three-day figure.

In the key ad-sales demographic of adults 18-49, Kimmel leads with 244,000 same-day viewers, edging Fallon (229,000) and Colbert (193,000). Meyers draws 146,000 adults 18-49 per night, and the first three After Midnights averaged 95,000 in the demo.

Since it’s a show about Internet culture, CBS will also be keeping an eye on After Midnight’s social media performance. The show has close to 130,000 Instagram followers and about 59,000 on TikTok (as of publication time); a couple of its Instagram Reels and one TikTok post are approaching 2 million views (both platforms count a view as one second seeing a video). On YouTube, After Midnight has 61,000 subscribers a week after its TV premiere; the full first episode has garnered 1.1 million views (YouTube counts views after 30 seconds) and seven other clips — five full segments of the show and two YouTube Shorts — have crossed the 100,000-view mark so far.

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