Jimmy Fallon’s “Tonight Show” debut gets off to a rockin’ start

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Lost in all the hoopla over the launch of The Game and 101WKQX Monday (ha ha) was the premiere of The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon on NBC, with the 39-year old comedian and Late Night host succeeding Jay Leno. And the results were amazing.

Fueled by an Olympic-lead-in (actually after the local news), Fallon earned a whopping 11.3 1 million viewers and a 3.8 adults 18-49 rating in an midnight/11 p.m. Central time slot. What’s more impressive is the 3.8 beat every ABC, Fox, and CBS program in primetime last week.

Fallon’s Tonight Show debut bested Conan O’Brien’s Tonight Show June 1, 2009 debut by 19 percent and was flat in the adults 18-49 demo. However, Fallon’s Tonight Show numbers were down from Jay Leno’s finale on Feb. 6, which drew 14.64 million viewers, the highest Tonight Show rating in 20 years. Leno also had a 3.8 adult 18-49 demo.

In the Chicago area, Fallon blew out the competition with a 10.4 household rating and a 6.0 among adults 25-54 at 11 p.m., according to Lewis Lazare at Chicago Business Journal. Chicago finished fourth among most-watched metered markets (Denver’s KUSA was first.)

Fallon debut as Tonight Show host also brings the series back to New York City for the first time since 1972. Fallon’s first guests were Will Smith and their was an awesome 30 Rock rooftop performance from U2.

Reviews for Fallon were quite positive – given the likability of the host (as opposed to his predecessor), Fallon should settle in as host of The Tonight Show quite easily.

Meanwhile, Fallon’s old late-night slot is being taken over by Seth Myers effective Monday.

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