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Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show Debut Draws Strong Ratings

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So, the ratings are in for Jimmy Fallon’s debut on The Tonight Show–and they look pretty solid. More than solid, in fact. The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon‘s inaugural episode drew 11.3 million viewers, which is the second largest Tonight Show audience in five years (Jay Leno’s recent departure brought in 14.6 million).

As The Hollywood Reporter points out, Fallon’s first episode had a bit of a disadvantage–it began at midnight, as opposed to the normal 11:30 time slot it will normally enjoy, due to NBC’s Olympics coverage.

Fallon’s scheduled guests last night were Will Smith and U2, but a cadre of high-profile celebrities made an appearance to wish the new host good luck–in their own weird way. Celebs appearing on Fallon’s first show included Robert De Niro, Stephen Colbert, Lady Gaga, Seth Rogen, Kim Kardashian, and Tina Fey.

With bits like this…

and this…

and a couple of performances from U2…

Fallon was able to capture more than 2 million more viewers than Conan O’Brien snagged when he took over for Jay Leno in 2009.

He also beat the numbers on his final show of Late Night by nearly 5 million viewers. Ah, the power of the Tonight Show brand.

Last night’s show has received generally positive–if not glowing–reviews. Fallon proved a capable, humble host–one that will only get better as he settles in. It’s a big job, and one that every comedian dreams of landing. Fallon will be just fine–unless of course, Leno gets antsy. We all know what happens when Leno gets antsy.

Image via The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, YouTube

Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show Debut Draws Strong Ratings
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