The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon had its lowest ratings ever on Monday (11 January), with 947,000 total viewers.
Comparatively, Stephen Colbert’s A Late Show on CBS had the top spot on Monday night, with more than two million viewers, according to Live + Same Day fast-national numbers and The Wrap. ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! followed in second place with 1.67 million viewers.
The previous low for The Tonight Show was on 25 September, 2020, during the US’ Stanley Cup Finals game, with just shy of one million viewers (992,000 total). Prior to that, an 18 August, 2020 episode brought in around the same number of viewers.
Fallon’s guests on Monday included comedian Bill Burr, actress Rashida Jones, and musical guest Old Dominion.
Fallon has struggled to contend with his late-night peers in the recent past, often facing ratings drops during times of political tension, which the US is certainly facing now, with President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on the horizon and last week’s attempted coup of the Capitol building.
The late-night host and former Saturday Night Live player is also famously more apolitical than fellow hosts like Colbert and Kimmel, having faced criticism in 2016 when he welcomed then-Republican candidate Donald Trump as a guest on The Tonight Show and jokingly tousled his hair.
Since then, The Tonight Show‘s ratings have steadily plummeted, with Colbert surpassing Fallon in 2018. Fallon’s ratings have fallen even more during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to The Wrap.
Historically, The Tonight Show has always attracted more than a million viewers each night.