Fallon Pulls Decent 'Tonight' Debut Numbers, Doesn't Top Leno

The arrival of Jimmy Fallon as host of “The Tonight Show” offered up some predictably good -- but not stellar -- results. The first Fallon-hosted “Tonight” pulled a Nielsen 11.3 million viewers.

This compares with the 14.7 million for the last “Tonight Show with Jay Leno” on Thursday, which also benefited from the promotion and big audience of the Sochi Olympics, just as the first Fallon “Tonight” show did.

Fallon tied the last Leno telecast with a 3.8 rating among young key adults 18-49 viewers. Both shows pulled the best 18-49 results in four years, when Conan O’Brien had his final “Tonight Show” episode in January 2010, earning a 4.4 rating.

The first Fallon show was also a bit lower than Leno’s first departure from “Tonight” on May 29, 2009, which earned 11.901 million. All this before Conan O’Brien took over as host.
 
No surprise here: Fallon’s first night “Tonight” show -- a big star-studded affair -- almost tripled the show’s regular-season average, which stands at 4 million viewers.

Fallon’s first night was easy winner among other late-night contenders: CBS’ “Late Show with David Letterman” got 2.4 million viewers an 0.5 rating among 18-49 viewers, while ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” earned 2.1 million viewers and a 0.4 18-49 rating.

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