ABC’s Kimmel Tops Letterman, Leno in First Night Ratings

ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel, in his first night in a new 11:35 p.m. time slot, attracted more viewers than CBS’s David Letterman and NBC’s Jay Leno

“Jimmy Kimmel Live!” drew a 2.8 rating, exceeding the 2.4 rating for “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and the 2.7 rating for the “Late Show with David Letterman,” according to preliminary Nielsen data provided by the TV networks.

With Kimmel’s move, ABC is seeking to close an advertising gap with Comcast Corp. (CMCSA)’s NBC and the CBS Corp. (CBS) network. Entertainment shows are more popular with marketers and draw a broader mix of advertisers than news programs, according to Peter Gardiner, chief media officer at Deutsch Inc., an advertising company in New York.

“Nightline,” the ABC newscast pushed back to 12:35 a.m. due to Kimmel’s move, averaged more viewers than CBS’s “Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson” and NBC’s “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” according to the early ratings. The news program drew a 1.8 rating compared with 1.2 for Fallon and Ferguson. Each rating point equals 1 percent of the 114.2 million U.S. TV households.

Actress Jennifer Aniston and the band No Doubt appeared on Kimmel’s show last night.

ABC parent Walt Disney Co. (DIS) rose 1.1 percent to $51.31 at 12:53 p.m. in New York. The stock climbed 33 percent in 2012, outpacing the 7.3 percent gain in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which includes the Burbank, California-based media company.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andy Fixmer in Los Angeles at afixmer@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

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