Jimmy Kimmel Now Leading Leno and Letterman in Late Night

Strange news from the late-night wars as a third army is now mounting legitimate competition to Jay Leno and David Letterman. Jimmy Kimmel’s Jimmy Kimmel Live on ABC is beating Mr. Leno’s NBC Tonight Show, the traditional late-night leader, by four percent of viewers in the valuable 18-49 demographic; Mr. Kimmel’s second half (his show airs at midnight, unlike Mr. Leno’s and Mr. Letterman’s at 11:35) beats The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson by 48% in that demographic. Mr. Kimmel has recently hosted the ABC upfront presentation and the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and is to host the Emmys this fall. He gained particular notoriety for his scathing takedown of Jay Leno during the older host’s struggle to return to The Tonight Show in early 2010.

NBC has lost ground in the morning recently to ABC; their slipping in late-night may leave them without a single one of their areas of traditional dominance intact.