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NBC had to hope that audiences did not leave The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and, so far, it looks like they decided to stick around with Jimmy Fallon. The former Late Night host’s Tonight Show debut ranks among the most-watched shows of the past decade.
Overall, the episode drew 11.3 million total viewers, notes TheWrap. That’s the second-most watched episode since Leno’s first departure in 2009 drew 11.9 million viewers. Leno’s final goodbye on Feb. 6 drew 14.6 million viewers.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the episode drew a 7.1 rating overall, the exact same rating Conan O’Brien’s first Tonight Show episode had in 2009. The Feb. 6 episode drew a 9.2 rating.
In the all-important 18-49 demographic, Fallon drew a 3.8 rating, which was the same Leno’s final show had. O’Brien’s last Tonight Show in 2010 had a 4.4 18-49 rating.
Fallon’s first episode turned on the star wattage with Will Smith and U2 as guests. NBC aired Fallon’s first episode at midnight due to Olympics coverage, which delayed local news broadcasts. The regular timeslot starts at 11:35 p.m.
Leno went out on top, averaging 4.1 million viewers this season. Fallon has some big shoes to fill, but so does Seth Meyers, who is replacing Fallon on Late Night starting next week.
image courtesy of NBC