The ratings drop in late-night TV is not all that surprising, given that the ratings of the prime week have been fixed around the world. For example, the NBC hit show This is Us dropped significantly in the premiere of Season 4 compared to Season 3.
The CBS "Late Show" won its premiere week over the competition, averaging 2.9 million viewers in the last week of September. "Alive Jimmy Kimmel!" came in second with 1.8 million, and The Tonight Show finished third with 1.7 million.
In demonstrations 18 to 49, Colbert, Kimmel, and Fallon were assigned a rating of 0.3.
But even the relentless pace of news coming from the White House, daily viewers are not tuned into comic relief as before.
Colbert was down 27%, Kimmel fell 16%, and Fallon, who historically skewed a younger audience than his rivals, fell 33% from last year in demonstrations 18 to 49.
However, when Colbert , Kimmel and Fallon delayed the viewing, they saw an acceleration in viewership. Colbert's audience was much larger, averaging 3.5 million viewers with those watching live or for three days.
"You really feel the earth shifting under your feet," Colbert said of the week's news. "But if you are at home, you have a seat belt on the couch. # 1, why? # 2, fasten."
The Evening Show went live all week, and Kimmel booked former Vice President Joe Biden, arguably the favorite guest of the week.