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LA Times: Jimmy Fallon Takes Tonight Show Into Terrific New Territory

Jimmy Fallon has "re-framed the franchise and sparked the kind of audience excitement The Tonight Show hasn't seen in years."

Those are the words of Los Angeles Times television critic Mary McNamara, who praised Fallon’s graceful takeover of the iconic Tonight Show in her March 12 column, including Fallon's knack for engaging younger audiences.

"Fallon's mid-career energy infuses his Tonight Show with the kind of good-natured, slightly silly "welcome to the party" feel that Ellen DeGeneres brought so successfully to daytime (and more divisively to this year's Oscars)," McNamara writes. "Night after night there is music and games, pranks and funny anecdotes, all involving A-list stars with whom Fallon interacts as admiring peer rather than benevolent dictator."

Ratings have been strong out of the chute as well. The Tonight Show and Late Night with Seth Meyers have continued to deliver elevated ratings in Fallon’s third week (March 3-7) on the air and Meyers’ second week.

For the week, both Fallon and Meyers beat their respective ABC and CBS time-period competition in every key ratings category – adults, men and women 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54, plus total viewers.

It all points toward long-term success for the new deans of late night television, with Fallon as NBC's post-prime-time anchor.

"Whether he's playing Flip Cup with Annette Bening, photo-bombing tourists with Jon Hamm (pictured), taking a Polar Plunge dare from Rahm Emanuel or just chatting it up with the endless array of his "very favorite" people, Fallon has, in less than two months, re-framed the franchise," McNamara writes.

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