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Fallon's Premiere Week Is the Biggest for NBC's 'Tonight Show' Since Carson TVWeek

Jay who? The first week of NBC's "Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" racked up the biggest audience for the late-night franchise since the Johnny Carson era, NBC announced.

With time-shifted viewing added into the equation, the week of Feb. 17-21 -- which benefited from airing after NBC's Olympics coverage -- averaged 10.418 million total viewers, based on Nielsen "live plus three day" results, the network reported. In the key demo of viewers 18-49, the program averaged a 3.6 rating.

"The 10.418 million for Fallon’s week of post-Olympic telecasts is 'Tonight’s' biggest weeklong audience in 'live plus three day' results since before the era of DVR time-shifting," the network announced. "It was last topped during Johnny Carson’s final week hosting 'The Tonight Show' from May 18-22, 1992 (19.453 million). The 3.6 in 18-49 is 'Tonight’s' best week by that measure since May 11-15, 1998 (3.7 for the week of the 'Seinfeld' finale)."

The addition of time-shifted viewers pumped up the numbers by 29% in viewers 18-49 (to a 3.6 rating from a 2.8) and 23%, or 1.9 million persons, in total viewers (10.418 million vs. 8.493 million), the announcement adds.

The release adds: "It was also the youngest audience for any week this season of 'Tonight,' 'Late Show with David Letterman' or 'Jimmy Kimmel Live,' with the median age of Fallon’s audience last week coming in at 52.6. Current season-average median ages are: 'Late Show,' 58.7; 'Kimmel,' 54.2; and 'Tonight,' excluding last week’s post-Olympic telecasts, 58.1."

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