During his debut week - where it was expected he'd draw big numbers - Fallon's Tonight logged 10.42 million viewers (including DVR recordings). That's the largest number of single week viewers since Johnny Carson's final week of shows in 1992. Carson pulled in almost double that - 19.5 million viewers.
Fallon's also logging the youngest late night audience (though you might scratch your head at the numbers). The median age for viewers during his first week was 52 years old. Compare that to Jimmy Kimmel's 54 year olds and David Letterman's 59 year olds.
Why is Fallon drawing such numbers? Beyond the newness of course? We have some thoughts, and we cover those in this month's Talk Show Perspectives: How to Win (and Lose) a Talk Show Audience.
Low-ratings will soon bring an end to CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight. The decision was made by host Piers Morgan and Jeffrey Zucker, CNN's president, according to a New York Times report. The show will likely disappear in March.
At this point, Morgan won't leave the network, but will instead focus on television events: interviews with big names and so forth.
The network is searching for a replacement.
Don't forget to set your DVRs (or, hey, just stay up late!) to catch the debut of Late Night with Seth Meyers.
Meyers' Late Night tapes in the same building, 30 Rockefeller Plaza. And Meyers, like Fallon, is a former Saturday Night Live cast member. In fact, there's a whole lot of SNL on late night now.
Fred Armisen joins Meyers as his band leader. Armisen is also a former SNL cast member. His first guest is Amy Poehler, another SNL alum and Meyers co-anchor on Weekend Update.
It's a homecoming of sorts for Poehler, who used to play Andy Richter's sister on Late Night with Conan O'Brien.
Jimmy Fallon's Tonight Show debut was spectacular. It had everything you could hope for. A warm welcome from Fallon and a quick overview of his CV - almost a clever way of telling new members of his television audience that he is, in fact, qualified for the job and will respect the office.
It had big, bold guests - Will Smith and U2 - both of whom wielded their star power to give Fallon that debut boost.
It also had that memorable moment folks will talk about for some time. In this case, he return of comedienne Joan Rivers.
During a sketch in which a cavalcade of stars appeared desk-side to wish Fallon well - Kim Kardashian, Stephen Colbert, Tracy Morgan, Lady Gaga - Rivers stepped out, wished Jimmy well, and waved to the audience.
And just like that, a decades-long ban from the show was lifted.
Host Johnny Carson instituted the ban back in the 1980s, when Rivers was his go-to guest host. Rivers popularity was on the rise, and in an effort to capitalize on that popularity, Fox lured Rivers to its network to host a new late night talk show. One that would compete with Carson.
As legend tells it, Carson found out through the grapevine, rather than from Rivers. Allegedly, Carson felt betrayed and cut all ties with Rivers.
When Leno took over for Carson, Rivers remained off the guest list, though it's unlikely this was because of the ban.
Now she's back. And her appearance suggests that Fallon is keen on clean the slate and starting The Tonight Show fresh. It's needed. And Fallon - who show producer Lorne Michaels equates to Carson - is quite possibly the one to make it happen.
Did you watch the premiere? What do you think?
If you were a fan of Saturday Night Live in the 2000s, NBC's late night schedule just got a lot more attractive. Former SNL cast member Fred Armisen is joining Late Night with Seth Meyers as both band leader and band curator. For now, the band is known as the 8G Band. The news was revealed by new host Seth Meyers on his Twitter feed Monday.
Armisen is best known for his days on SNL, alongside both Fallon and Meyers, and for his hipster satire, Portlandia. What's little known about Armisen is that he's an accomplished musician. He is the former drummer of punk band Trenchmouth and a Blue Man Group alum.
Armisen is joined by Seth Jabour and Syd Butler, from Les Savy Fav, Eli Janney from Girls Against Boys and Kimberly Thompson, a member of Beyonce's touring band.
Armisen will lead the band while in New York (and likely take part in a host of skits) and keep the band running while filming Portlandia. His job as "curator" is less defined. As curators often collect appropriate pieces of a collection, one can assume that it is his job to maintain the bands line-up, filling in appropriate pieces as members tour or work with their home bands.
A visibly moved Jay Leno said his final goodbyes to The Tonight Show and his faithful audience Thursday night. Though it was the second go-around for Leno, this goodbye didn't come with a prime-time deal on the back-end.
No, Leno departs Tonight for good this time. He leaves the show while it's still solid in the ratings.
Leno's guests included Billy Crystal - his first guest on the show in 1992 - and Garth Brooks. Crystal sung his praises, while Brooks touched everyone's hearts with "The Dance." He also led the curtain call with a boisterous rendering of "I've Got Friends in Low Places."
Crystal also led a star-studded tribute to Leno sung in the style of "The Sound of Music." Singers included Jack Black, Kim Kardashian, Jim Parsons, Carol Burnett and Oprah Winfrey.
"You were handed the baton by one of the all-time greats," said Crystal. "But once it was in your grasp, you ran the race."
Many celebrities said goodbye, as well, including President Barack Obama. Obama joked that he was appointing Leno Ambassador to Antarctica in return for all the jokes Leno's lobbed at Obama over the years.
"Hope you have a warm coat, man," he joked.
Talk show fans and historians will want to make note that this is the final week of shows for Tonight Show host Jay Leno. It's also the last week the late night talk show will take place in Los Angeles. After Thursday's broadcast, the show moves back to New York, where it originated in the early 1950s.
This is the second time Leno has departed the Tonight Show. He previously left the show in May 2009. He returned in March 2010.
To cap off Leno's run, here's some required reading to get you up to speed:
- History of The Tonight Show
- Letterman-Leno Timeline
- O'Brien-Leno Timeline
- Talk Show Perspectives: Reconsidering Jay Leno
Here's Leno's line-up for the week:
- Monday, Feb 3: Jimmy Fallon, Betty White, Bonnie Raitt
- Tuesday, Feb 4: Matthew McConaughey, Charles Barkley, Lyle Lovett
- Wednesday, Feb 5: Sandra Bullock, Blake Shelton, Vintage Trouble
- Thursday, Feb 6: Billy Crystal, Garth Brooks
Much has been written about the fourth (and some say seventh) host of The Tonight Show host. A lot of it hasn't been kind. Heck, even I've poked fun at the guy from time to time on this site. And when all that business was going down between Leno, NBC andConan O'Brien, we were on O'Brien's side.
But after writing about Tonight and the freshness Jimmy Fallon will bring the program, as well as taking a look back at the history of the show - and the two, maybe three, controversies stirred up by Leno's departures and the arrival of new hosts - I'm seeing Leno in a different light.
And I think I finally understand why his No. 1 late night talk show never felt like it should be the No. 1 late night talk show.
February is coming fast for NBC's late night line-up. That's the month that everything changes: Jay Leno retires from The Tonight Show (for the second time), Jimmy Fallon debuts his version of the iconic program, and Saturday Night Live's Seth Meyers takes over on Late Night.
This week, all three hosts unveiled their final - and first - guests.
Leno will say goodbye the week of Feb. 3 with a host of top talent, including Matthew McConaughey, Sandra Bullock and Betty White. Billy Crystal is his final guest. Crystal was also Leno's very first guest. His final episode is Feb. 6.
Fallon will stop by Leno's Tonight before he debuts his version of the show on Feb. 17. His first guest is actor Will Smith. Fallon's first musical guest is the venerable U2.
A week later, Meyers arrives on Late Night with a familiar face as his first guest, former SNL "Weekend Update" co-anchor Amy Poehler. In a way, it's a return to familiar stomping grounds, as Poehler was a performer on Conan O'Brien's Late Night edition.
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon just hired Amber Ruffin. In turn, Amber Ruffin is making talk show history.
Ruffin is the first African-American woman and the first woman of color to write on staff for a late-night talk show - in the entire history of late night talk shows. The news comes from The New York Observer.
Now, you might stop for a moment and question that fact. But as the Observer points out that they're talking only about traditional network television, and not shows like Totally Biased, The Chris Rock Show or Real Time with Bill Maher. The Daily Show's Jessica Williams is a correspondent, not staff writer. And Wanda Sykes was host.
Also interesting is how it all came about. Ruffin, along with three other comedians, Sasheer Zamata, LaKendra Tookes and Leslie Jones, auditioned together in the fall for an open cast position (Seth Meyers?) on Saturday Night Live. Zamata got the role, and SNL hired Tookes and Jones as staff writers.
Ruffin lands at Late Night, also produced by Lorne Michaels, SNL's executive producer and creator.
The question is ... will she continue with Late Night or move on to The Tonight Show? We'll have to wait and see.