Prime to Flick Fallon for Colbert UPDATED

Since posting this, Sky’s head of Prime Karen Bieleski has provided clarity: “Prime originally signed <em>The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon</em> deal before the original CBS Studios International deal was concluded, and <em>The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon</em> has been a good show for Prime. However, with the renewal of the CBS deal this year, and noting the strong performance of <em>The Late Show With Stephen Colbert </em>in the US, it made sense for Prime to go with<em> The Late Show</em> this time around. We think Kiwis are the perfect audience for Colbert’s topical and biting analysis of current events.”


Prime is soon to offer a new late-night chat show that’s the talk of US TV.

The Late Show With Stephen Colbert will replace The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon both at night and during the day.

Prime wouldn’t comment on why it’s making the change except to say it’s a programming decision.

Ironically, Colbert succeeded David Letterman in the US two years ago and given it’s produced by CBS Television Studios, you’d have thought Prime would have picked it up then through its CBS Television Studios International deal.

But it seems as if the network feared Colbert would be too political for Kiwis whereas Fallon would be more mainstream. His show also was the most popular of the late-night hours on TV.

However, that’s changed with Donald Trump’s election as President, triggering a relentless assault on POTUS by Colbert’s writers that’s catapulted The Late Show to #1 on the late-night circuit and won it more headlines than Fallon’s.

“Colbert’s viewership numbers have surged ever since the Trump’s election, with Colbert’s pointedly political comedy resonating strongly with viewers in Trump’s America,” Variety reports.

“Colbert averaged 3.195 million viewers per episode for the traditional September-May TV season, compared to Fallon’s 3.173.”

According to the New York Post, “The left-wing, bespectacled talk-show host claimed his full-season victory after losing miserably in the 2015-2016 TV season, when he trailed Fallon’s Tonight by 870,000 viewers.

“Indeed, Colbert mounted his impressive comeback after beginning the latest season with a 738,000-viewer deficit versus Fallon, closing it steadily as the election and its aftermath wore on, according to Nielsen.”

Fallon, however, remained most popular with adults 18-49.

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4 Responses to “Prime to Flick Fallon for Colbert UPDATED”

  1. Are they able to keep both, Philip?

  2. Afraid not, Leo, Fallon is being swapped for Colbert.

  3. Presumably this will be cheaper for Prime as part of their CBS output deal? Probably had to pay NBC for the Fallon rights. From what I’ve seen Colbert is the better show.

  4. Jimmy Fallon is a very talented guy…… he can sing, dance, does some great impressions and all that. But for me, humour isn’t one of his talents. I find Colbert funnier. None of them are as funny as David Letterman was though. All subjective, of course.

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