Stephen Colbert’s first episode as host of ‘The Late Show’ on CBS was a success in the ratings, according to Nielsen, drawing millions more than rival shows by Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel.

‘The Late Show with Stephen Colbert’, which has been anticipated for several months since David Letterman retired as host in May after 22 years in the job, got an average of 6.6 million viewers on Tuesday evening (September 8th).

This was more than double the ratings of its nearest competitor that night, with NBC’s ‘The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon’ securing 2.9 million viewers and ABC’s ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!’ with 1.8 million.

Stephen ColbertStephen Colbert was a ratings success in his first episode hosting 'The Late Show'

This sizeable audience was of course expected, with the very loyal audience for his previous show ‘The Colbert Report’ on Comedy Central – which he wrapped up in December last year – following him over to CBS for his debut and predicted to remain with him. CBS has also been heavily promoting the launch of the new show.

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Colbert’s first ever guests on his new show were Hollywood A-lister George Clooney and Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush, with current Democratic Vice President Joe Biden booked for later on this week.

NBC, whose Fallon-hosted talk show usually leads the ratings, has struck back by booking both presidential frontrunners Hillary Clinton (Dem) and Donald Trump (Rep) for upcoming episodes of ‘The Tonight Show’.

Though Colbert has said on many occasions that his slow-witted conservative pundit persona from ‘The Colbert Report’ will be ditched for ‘The Late Show’, CBS’ rationale for picking him to replace Letterman has been to try to access a younger audience.

Leslie Moonves, CBS Chief Executive, said at a Bank of America investment conference last month: “Colbert could be a significant profit center,” with the potential for a younger demographic meaning “a lot of major advertisers paying a lot of bucks.”

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