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Early Ratings: Fallon Sets Record; Sochi Opening Ceremony Down From Vancouver, Up From Torino

Fallon’s sendoff has strong household numbers

The Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony in Sochi was down slightly from the 2010 ceremony in Vancouver, but up from the last opening that wasn’t aired live in the U.S.

Jimmy Fallon‘s final “Late Night” before he takes over the “Tonight Show,” meanwhile, set a series record in metered market households.

Friday’s Sochi opening had an overnight rating of an 18.5 and a 30 share for NBC in metered markets. The rating was up 26 percent from the 14.7 for the non-live opening of the Torino Winter Olympics in 2006.

Also read: Sochi Olympics: Stray Dog, Ring Fail Bring Awkward to the Opening Ceremony (Photos)

Sochi was off 8 percent from the live telecast of the 2010 Vancouver Opening Ceremony, which had a 20.0/33.

Airing earlier than usual, at 12:05 a.m., “Late Night”averaged a 4.8 rating, 13 share in households in 55 of the 56 markets metered by Nielsen Media Research. (Philadelphia, home of Fallon’s band, The Roots, was not included.) Thanks to the Olympics lead-in, the show topped the record set one night earlier of a 4.6/15 by the final telecast of “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”

Also read: President Obama: ‘I Believe Sochi Is Safe’

Snowy locales were the biggest markets for the Opening Ceremony. It was most watched in Minneapolis, then Salt Lake City, Ft. Myers, Fla. (an exception to the rule), Chicago, and Boston.

The spectacle (pictured), which featured dancing horses, giant outlines of winter athletes, and lots of ballet, spun through 1,000 years of Russian history.