Jimmy Fallon's debut Monday as host of The Tonight Show drew 11.3 million viewers, according to fast nationals from Nielsen.
That was 19% higher than the 9.17 million that tuned in to Conan O'Brien's Tonight Show in June 2009. Among adults 18-49, Fallon matched O'Brien's 3.8 rating. In metered-market overnights, Fallon also matched what Conan O'Brien drew in his Tonight Show debut in June 2009 with a 7.1 rating.
Fallon's Tonight Show debut aired at midnight following Winter Olympics coverage, while O'Brien's first show was at Tonight's regular 11:35 p.m. time slot.
Both Fallon's 11.3 million and 7.1 overnight rating were down 23% from Jay Leno's final show on Feb. 6, which was the most-watched since the night of the Seinfeld finale in 1997. Among the 18-49 crowd, Leno's final show also drew a 3.8 rating.
Fallon easily outdrew his new competition of David Letterman and Jimmy Kimmel. Letterman's show—which featured the cast of How I Met Your Mother reading his "Top Ten" segment—drew 2.4 million viewers overall and a 0.5 rating in the demo. Kimmel garnered 2.1 million total viewers and a 0.4 demo rating.
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