Speed Reads

late-night battle

Jimmy Fallon's refusal to take down Trump is hurting his ratings big time

Stephen Colbert has found his niche as President Trump's chief critic, but his success comes at the expense of longtime late night favorite Jimmy Fallon.

Last fall, Jimmy Fallon and The Tonight Show had a firm lead over late night competitors Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel, with an average 3.3 million viewers per night. Now, Colbert has soared, drawing in 3.5 million viewers each night, while Fallon is down to 2.6 million, according to The New York Times.

That leaves Fallon at risk of losing even the second-place spot, as Jimmy Kimmel Live! is nipping at his heels with 2.4 million viewers per show.

The New York Times credits Fallon's slump to his lighthearted, crowd-pleasing content. Audiences seem to favor Colbert's biting takedowns of Trump, and it seems that appeal hasn't withered in the 10 months since Inauguration Day.

Fallon still leads in viewers aged 18-49, but even that advantage has narrowed drastically. With Trump in the White House, it looks like dancing pandas and lip-sync battles just aren't cutting it anymore.