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Colbert’s 'Late Show' Ratings Level

UPDATED: Day two of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert leveled off considerably following its splashy premiere, with the CBS program putting up a 2.6 rating to trail NBC's Tonight Show, which tallied a 2.8. The Tonight Show had 4.06 million total viewers, ahead of Late Show's 3.66 and Jimmy Kimmel Live!'s 1.85. (Kimmel posted a 1.3 rating.)

Tonight Show, hosted by Jimmy Fallon, had Justin Timberlake and Ellen DeGeneres on Sept. 9.

CBS has been marketing The Late Show mightily with the new host, formerly of The Colbert Report on Comedy Central, stepping into David Letterman’s former role. Colbert had Scarlett Johansson, tech guru Elon Musk and hip-hop artist Kendrick Lamar on Wednesday.

The new Late Show, featuring a cameo from CBS president and CEO Leslie Moonves, debuted to 6.6 million viewers Tuesday, with many curious how Colbert would shape the late-night franchise’s newest iteration. Colbert, and CBS, are hard at work trying to turn sampling into regular viewing, though The Tonight Show will be tough to match.

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.