Jimmy Fallon’s 11.3 Million Viewers Is Second-Largest ‘Tonight Show’ Audience in Nearly 5 Years (Updated)

The 3.8 rating in key demo ties for highest since Conan’s final “Tonight”

Jimmy Fallon‘s “Tonight Show” debut on Monday earned the second most viewers for the show in nearly five years, with 11.3 million. The only episode to top it in audience size since Jay Leno‘s first 11:35 p.m. goodbye, in 2009 (11.9 million), was the long-running host’s second curtain closer, which took place on Thursday Feb. 6 (14.6 million).
Fallon’s 3.8 rating in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demo ties Leno’s farewell as the highest number since Conan O’Brien‘s final “Tonight Show” in 2010 (4.4).
The top 10 highest-rated local markets for last night’s “Tonight” debut were: Denver, St. Louis, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Chicago, Detroit, New York, Philadelphia, Seattle-Tacoma, Houston and Orlando-Daytona Beach.
Will Smith, U2 and a slew of guests joined those scheduled to appear on the President’s Day premiere.
Here are the previously reported metered market results, which come in earlier than demo numbers:

Fallon’s Monday debut, which began at a special midnight time following NBC’s Olympics coverage, averaged a 7.1 rating, 20 share in household results from the 56 local markets metered by Nielsen Media Research. The numbers tie the premiere for the second-highest “Tonight Show” overnights since Friday, May 29, 2009 (8.8/20, for Leno’s last telecast before Conan O’Brien took over as host).

Fallon’s curtain-raiser was behind only the Thursday, Feb. 6 finale of “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” (9.2/22).

See video: Jimmy Fallon’s First ‘Tonight Show’ Monologue Is All Gee-Whiz Excitement

Last night also tied the June 1, 2009 “Tonight” debut for O’Brien (7.1/17).

“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” was the top non-Olympic telecast versus all primetime and late-night programming last night on ABC, CBS and Fox in metered-market households. ABC’s “The Bachelor” hit No. 2 with a 5.5/8.

(For the record: The early headline for this story said Fallon’s metered market results tied the best “Tonight” ratings in five years; in fact, he tied the second-best “Tonight” ratings in nearly five years per the early rating, as the story stated.)