In his first week as host of
It also will likely increase sampling for Seth Meyers, who succeeds Fallon as host of "Late Night" starting tonight. Fallon leaves big shoes to fill. His final "Late Night" averaged 6.6 million viewers.
Fallon and Meyers have both been important personalities at NBC for a long time, and have followed similar paths on the network, both moving to "Late Night" after stints at
"Late Night" already has an edge on its direct competition. Earlier this season, Fallon was averaging 1.99 million viewers overall and a rating of 0.6 in the key 18-49 demographic. That's stronger than the 1.42 million (0.4 in 18-49) that
Still, it's worth noting that the talk show landscape is different from when Fallon took over "Late Night" five years ago.
Red-eyed TV audiences have more options for laughs, including cable talkers such as "The Pete Holmes Show" on
The promotions for Meyers have been a bit subdued compared to those for the "Tonight Show" handoff to Fallon. And surely the anticipation for Fallon's big launch was in part due to the attention surrounding the departure of Leno after 22 years of hosting, and a botched transfer of power to then-"Late Night" host Conan O'Brien a few years ago.
While O'Brien's "Tonight Show" tenure was short-lived, his move to the earlier time slot followed in the tradition typified by
That said, there's little reason to think Meyers won't pull in some strong numbers in his early days. But it's the weeks, months and years ahead that will determine whether "Late Night" continues its track record of readying 12:35 p.m. hosts for the 11:35 p.m. game.