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The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Debuts to High Numbers

“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” was, of course, highly anticipated and very well attended. Not only was Fallon’s parents there to wish their son well, tons of stars and political figures, including the former mayor of New York, Rudy Guiliani, Lady Gaga, Mariah Carey, Joan Rivers and Stephen Colbert graced the set to give their well-wishes. Even his first guests, Will Smith and U2, offered tons of support to Fallon and entertainment for the crowd. But how well did Fallon actually do?

Quite well, actually. The premiere of the show under Fallon’s tenure received 11.3 million viewers, averaging a 7.1 overnight household rating/20 share, according to Nielsen. Variety states that ironically, 7.1 is the same score Conan O’Brien received when he had his premiere “Tonight Show” episode.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that everything bodes horribly for Fallon, but he does seem to understand that the success of the show rides on his shoulders, especially since his opening monologue joke was that he’s the host “for now.”

The jury is still out on how well Fallon will be able to retain both the original “Tonight Show” audience and maintain the audience he cultivated from “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” but I think that his younger audience will be what bolsters him through his first year and beyond. He has built a formula that has won him scores of fans both young and old and with the skit he and Smith did–an evolution of hip hop dance–he seems to be sticking with that tried-and-true formula.

What did you think of Fallon’s first episode as “The Tonight Show” host? Give your opinions in the comments section below!

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon - Season 1

(Photo credit: Lloyd Bishop/NBC)

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Monique Jones blogs about race and culture in entertainment, particularly movies and television. You can read her articles at Racialicious, and her new site, COLOR . You can also listen to her new podcast, What would Monique Say.

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