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Jimmy Fallon's Tonight Show debut draws 11.3m viewers

Published on Feb 19, 2014 6:00 AM
Jimmy Fallon, host of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, takes part in a panel discussion at the NBC portion of the 2014 Winter Press Tour in Pasadena, California in this file photo taken on Jan 19, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - Jimmy Fallon's debut as the host of NBC's Tonight Show drew 11.3 million viewers, network NBC said on Tuesday, making it the second most-watched episode of the late-night talk show in the past five years.

Fallon's premiere on NBC's flagship late-night program failed to top the farewell episodes of Jay Leno on Feb 6 and in 2009, but eclipsed the audience that tuned in to watch Conan O'Brien begin his short, ill-fated stint as host.

Fallon, 39, welcomed actor Will Smith and Irish band U2 as his first official guests, and the show also featured appearances from the likes of comedian Tina Fey, actresses Lindsay Lohan and Sarah Jessica Parker, and former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

Actor Robert De Niro, boxer Mike Tyson, pop star Lady Gaga and Comedy Central rival Stephen Colbert also welcomed Fallon to the show, which returned to its roots in New York after more than 40 years in Burbank, California.

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