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Kimmel bests rivals on debut night

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It’s early and the numbers are way preliminary, but results from 56 metered markets shows that Jimmy Kimmel bested David Letterman and Jay Leno at 11:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Debuting in his new timeslot that was once occupied by Nightline, Kimmel earned a 2.8 rating/8 share in households — better than Letterman (2.7/7) and Leno (2.4/6), according to early Nielsen results. In the 25 markets with local People Meters, Kimmel earned a 1.0/5 in adults 18-49, followed by Leno (.8/4) and Letterman (.6/3). Kimmel’s debut gave Nightline a nice boost: it averaged a 1.8/5 in metered-market homes and a .5/3 in local People Meters. Jimmy Fallon posted a 1.2/4 in households and a .5/3 in 18-49, while Craig Ferguson earned a 1.2/4 and a .4/3.

Final ratings should come out later today.

Kimmel was expected to attract the lookee-loos now that he’s airing a half-hour earlier on ABC. Yet its a marathon, not a sprint, so the real test will come in the next few months. Stay tuned.

For more:

Jimmy Kimmel debut: He gets haircut from Jennifer Aniston