Jimmy Fallon Is the One to Beat in New Late-Night War
Jimmy Fallon with guest Justin Timberlake on 'The Tonight Show.' (NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Nice guys finish… first? Well, at least that's the case for Jimmy Fallon in the new late-night race.
One month after taking over "The Tonight Show" — and earnestly telling viewers his goal for the show is to simply make people smile as they head off to bed — the 39-year-old is dominating his competition.
The ratings from last week are in and he averaged 4.5 million viewers, which is well above his two biggest competitors, "Late Show With David Letterman" (2.76 million) and "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" (2.74 million).
And while, yes, his ratings have taken a dip from the Feb. 17 premiere, which netted a whopping 11.3 million viewers, it's expected for viewership to drop off after the hype over the new show ends — and, ya know, U2 isn't rocking out on the roof of the GE Building.
So Fallon's numbers are still solid. In fact, they're higher than what Jay Leno was averaging going into the finale of his show, which was about 3.83 million viewers. Leno's final show, which was on Feb. 6, drew a tremendous 14.64 million viewers overall, the fourth biggest ever for the show.
Fallon's show is a light-hearted and fun one, with lots of laughs (many coming from the host, who often charmingly cracks himself up) and starpower. The premiere alone saw him getting jiggy with Will Smith during their viral "Evolution of Hip-Hop" dance, that appearance by Bono and the gang, and cameos from many, many A-listers, including Mariah Carey, Sarah Jessica Parker, Tina Fey, Lady Gaga, and Kim Kardashian.
The "Saturday Night Live" alum, who cut his teeth during his five-year run on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon," maintains that nice-guy vibe he's been known for. When he's not gushing about his daughter, Winnie, he's entertaining the audience with his Thank You Notes segment, playing Pictionary with guests, or having epic lip-sync battles against stars like Paul Rudd.
Some of his other memorable interviews have been with his pals — including "SNL" alums Kristen Wiig, Fey, and frequent "SNL" guest Justin Timberlake, as well as Jerry Seinfeld.
And viewers apparently like what they've been seeing.