Airing in a special midnight time period after a wildly successful night of Olympics coverage, the debut of “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” got a reasonable strong sampling.
Ratings for a single night, especially a night with an Olympics lead-in and an atypical air-time, probably aren’t especially meaningful and can be spun any number of ways, so take all of this with shakers full of salt.
Per Fast National Nielsens, “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” averaged 11.31 million viewers and did a 3.8 rating among adults 18-49.
That key demo rating matched the number for Jay Leno’s February 6 “Tonight Show” departure, but that episode aired at 11:35 also after a night of Olympics coverage. Leno’s “Tonight Show” farewell also drew 14.64 million viewers. In the key demo, it tied the Leno exit for the top “Tonight Show” performance since Conan O’Brien’s last episode in January 2010, which did a 4.4 key demo rating.
It was certainly Fallon’s best performance, rising 71 percent overall and 73 percent in the key demo over his last “Late Night” episode.
The early numbers put Fallon right in line with Conan O’Brien’s 2009 “Tonight Show” premiere in the key demo and ahead of the 9.2 million viewers who watched that Conan debut.
Check out our gallery of the Fallon “Tonight Show” highlights below: