[Updated Feb. 18, 2014, at noon PT to add Nielsen Media Research fast-official "live plus same day" ratings.]
NBC racked up a number of late-night ratings milestones as Jimmy Fallon made his debut on "The Tonight Show" Monday night, based on Nielsen Media Research data for the 56 local metered markets and "live plus same day" fast ratings.
The show had a special midnight start time following late local news and coverage of the Sochi Winter Olympics. In metered markets the premiere episode of “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” averaged a 7.1 household rating and 20 share.
In Nielsen fast-official “live plus same day” ratings, Fallon’s "Tonight" debut averaged a 3.8 in the key 18-49 demo and 11.314 million total viewers, marking the best results ever for a Fallon-hosted late-night talk-show hour.
"The 11.314 million is up 71% or 4.7 million persons versus the 6.601 million for the Friday, Feb. 7, finale of ‘Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,’ which aired at 12:05 a.m. ET following prime-time Olympics coverage and was Fallon’s previous high for a late-night talk-show hour," NBC announced.
In its press release announcing the metered-market ratings, NBC noted that the numbers made the "Tonight Show" broadcast "easily the #1 non-Olympic telecast versus all prime-time and late-night programming last night on ABC, CBS and Fox in metered-market households."
Second among non-Olympic programs was ABC’s prime-time “The Bachelor," which delivered a 5.5 rating/8 share.
NBC reported that Fallon’s show was also "higher-rated than all but two of last week’s prime-time non-Olympic programs on ABC, CBS and Fox in metered-market households (for the week of Feb. 10-16, behind only Fox’s Wednesday ‘American Idol’ and CBS’s Thursday ‘Big Bang Theory’ encore, 7.4 each)."
Fallon’s rating was his highest ever for a late-night talk-show telecast, and dominated Monday’s late-night rankings. The show was up 48% from his previous high for a late-night talk show — the 4.8/13 delivered by the “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” finale on Friday, Feb. 7, which aired at 12:05 a.m. ET after prime-time Olympics coverage.
In Nielsen’s 56 metered markets, ‘Fallon’s" 7.1 rating/20 share in households compared with a 2.0/5 for both CBS’s "Late Show with David Letterman" and ABC’s "Jimmy Kimmel Live."
Fallon’s "Tonight Show" debut also "tied 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), trailing over that span only the Thursday, Feb. 6, finale of ‘The Tonight Show with Jay Leno’ (9.2/22) and tied with the June 1, 2009, ‘Tonight’ debut for O’Brien (7.1/17)," NBC reported.