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The Late Show With Stephen Colbert debuted to strong ratings, of course

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The premiere of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert trounced the competition Tuesday night—Deadline reports the late-night talk show garnered an estimated 6.6 million viewers, more than twice the number of people who tuned in to The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon. The other Jimmy (as in Kimmel) nabbed 1.75 million viewers, and we’re pretty sure some folks watched Late Night With Seth Meyers, if only to see Tina Fey share a Maya Rudolph Dubsmash video.

The publication notes that a strong showing in the ratings for Colbert’s Late Show debut was expected, and that Colbert’s viewer numbers on Tuesday night were up four million from the number of people who watched his final episode of The Colbert Report. Colbert has yet to break any audience records for the Late Show, though, as David Letterman’s final episode drew nearly 14 million viewers. And he still fell considerably short of Fallon’s Tonight Show debut numbers in January of last year, which totaled more than 11 million viewers (though Fallon might have gotten a bump from the Winter Olympics).


The Tonight Show tends to fare better in morning-after viewings of its YouTube-ready stunts, but The Late Show is also holding its own on the streaming front. The Late Show’s CBS.com page had its highest premiere-day traffic numbers ever, and it was also the “most social entertainment show on television yesterday, according to Nielsen Social Guide,” which we assume means it was tagged a lot on Twitter.

Colbert’s first Late Show guests were George Clooney, who had nothing but fake movie clips to share, and Jeb Bush, who had only a questionable presidential bid to promote. CBS president Les Moonves showed up to remind Colbert of the ever-present The Mentalist reruns, and Jon Stewart lent a catcher’s mitt in getting things started. Our review of the premiere is live and kicks off TV Club’s coverage of the show.