ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Most Watched Late Night Talk Show on Television

Updated on July 25, 2018
revmjm profile image

Margaret Minnicks has been an online writer for many years. She researches and shares remedies for using certain products for illnesses.

Late Night Television

Late night television shows include those that start airing after the local 11 p.m. news has ended. They usually start around 11:35 p.m and last for an hour.

Dramas and programs with stories usually go off the air at 11 p.m. to make way for local news.

The late night time frame applies only to local television networks such as ABC, CBS, and NBC. Cable stations do not adhere to this same schedule.

Prime Time Television

Prime time or peak time is broadcast programming that starts in the evening and goes off before late night time.

In the United States, prime time starts at 8 p.m. and ends at 11 p.m. in the Eastern and Pacific Time Zones. Prime time starts at 7 p.m. and ends at 10 p.m. in the Central and Mountain Time Zones.

Format of Late Night Talk Shows

Most hosts tape this shows beforehand usually late in the afternoon. Therefore, they can't make comments about breaking news that happens between the taping and the airing. There is an exception with Jimmy Kimmel. He tapes his talk show just an hour before it is aired. He was the only host to report the death of Michael Jackson on June 25, 2009, because the other hosts had already taped their shows before the pop star died.

Most late night talk shows follow the same format that former host used for many years before the current hosts. The famous former hosts who set the standards include Johnny Carson, David Letterman, Arsenio Hall, Tom Snyder, Steve Allen, Merv Griffin, Dick Cavett, and Jack Paar.

  • The hosts start out with a stand-up comedy routine called a monologue including jokes about current events.
  • There are interviews with one or two celebrities guests.
  • There might be a musical performance or a comedy act.
  • The show has a house band.
  • Usually, the host has a sidekick.

'The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon'

James Thomas Fallon comes on at 11:34 p.m. The 43-year-old has hosted The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon from New York since 2014 after leaving the time slot that is became occupied by Late Night with Seth Meyers on February 24, 2014.

Jimmy's sidekick is Steve Higgins. His band is the Roots. Jimmy's monologues seem to be much shorter than the other talk show hosts. Then he gets involved in the comedic sketches and games. He has a segment where he writes thank you notes to people before he interviews one or two guests which are usually A-List celebrities.

Fallon has job security because he signed a contract to remain as host until at least 2021.

'Jimmy Kimmel Live!'

James Christian Kimmel is a 50-year-old television host, comedian, writer, and producer. Unlike the other late night talk show hosts, Jimmy is the host and executive producer of Jimmy Kimmel Live! The one-hour long show premiered on ABC on January 26, 2003. The show is now in its 14th season after 2,694 have been aired.

As of July 10, 2018, Jimmy Kimmel Live! marked its 15th year and became the longest running late night talk show in ABC's history.

Up until January 8, 2013, the show aired at 12:05 a.m. before moving to the 11:35 p.m. time slot. That meant Jimmy Kimmel was competing with The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on NBC and the Late Show with David Letterman on ABC.

Jimmy's sidekick is Guillermo Rodriguez. His house band is Cleto and the Cletones.

'Late Show with Stephen Colbert'

Stephen Tyrone Colbert is a 54-year-old comedian, writer, producer, actor, and television host. He has been hosting CBS's late night talk host The Late Show with Stephen Colbert since September 8, 2015 after David Letterman retired from that time slot.

The program is taped at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York City and airs live to tape in most U.S. markets at 11:35 p.m. Eastern and Pacific, and 10:35 Central.

While Colbert's format is similar to the other talk show hosts, it is a little different in some areas. He has a monologue, sketch comedy, celebrity interview and musical performance. However, his guests are usually government and political figures.

Also, Colbert does not have a sidekick. He does have a house band, Stay Human that is led by American musician Jon Batiste.

'Late Night with Seth Meyers'

When Jimmy Fallon became host of The Tonight Show, Seth Meyer took over Fallon's old time slot on NBC with Late Night with Seth Meyers on February 24, 2014.

The 44-year-old host was head writer and host of the Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live from 2001 to 2014. Meyers uses his writing skills in his current position.

The 8G Band is the house band for the show. It is named after NBC Studio 8-G in the Comcast Building at 30 Rockefeller Center in New York City. The band is led by Fred Armisen who also acts as Meyers' sidekick. Armisen is also a Saturday Night Live alumnus.

New episodes air Monday through Thursday nights at 12:37 a.m. Shows on Friday nights are reruns. Unlike the others host, Meyers delivers his opening monologue as he sits at his desk.

Even though it comes on very late at night, the show averages about 1.54 million viewers nightly. Meyers doesn't have to worry about his job because on January 13, 2016, NBC renewed his contract for him to host the show through 2021.


Conan is a late-night talk show airing every Monday through Thursday at 11:00 p.m. Eastern time on TBS. The hour-long show premiered on November 8, 2010, and is hosted by writer, comedian, and performer Conan O'Brien. His long-time sidekick is Andy Richter.

Conan has aired 1,189 episodes as of July 22, 2018. On May 17, 2017, TBS renewed the series to 2022.

The talk show is in competition with The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel Live! and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.


11:35 p.m.
Jimmy Kimmel Live!
2.22 million
11:35 p.m.
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
2.63 million
11:35 p.m.
Late Show with Stephen Colbert
3.78 million
12.37 a.m.
Late Night with Seth Meyers
1.54 million
11.00 p.m.
0.38 million

Which One of the Five Hosts Do You Think Makes the Most?

First of all, let's say that Stephen Colbert took a pay cut when he left Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report. He was reportedly making $6 million a year. Now his salary is reportedly $4.6 million per year for a three-year deal with CBS. That means he makes the least among the late-night hosts.

Jimmy Fallon takes home a reported $11 to $12 million as host of NBC’s The Tonight Show. Jimmy Kimmel earns $10 million for Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Conan O’Brien enjoyed $12 million a year. While that is a lot of money, it is not the same as what Jay Leno and David Letterman made. David Letterman made $30 million a year as the host of The Late Show. Jay Leno took made $25 million a year. When he retired in 2014 after hosting the NBC show for 22 years. It was reported that Leno had not spent any money he made while hosting The Tonight Show.

Which is your favorite late night talk show?

See results

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)