February 18th, 2014
07:53 AM ET

Jimmy Fallon's 'Tonight Show' Debut: New Show, Old Jimmy

To thunderous applause and with a Cheshire cat grin, Jimmy Fallon walked on to the stage at the NBC Studio in New York Monday night - the new host in the old home of the "Tonight Show."

"I am Jimmy Fallon and I will be your host - for now," he said, a pointed reference to the exit-enter-exit history of the last host, Jay Leno.

His first joke out of the way, he spent the next few minutes introducing himself to the audience - his childhood, his family, his career. He was pretty subdued through it all.

But then when the formalities were out of the way, he re-entered the show through the gigantic blue curtains - the ever-hip Roots playing him in - and started his show proper: the usual monologue and his usual over-eager but gracious self.

The laughs came easy.

And even before the new show's first guests appeared - Will Smith and U2 - a parade of celebrities walked up and dumped money on Fallon's desk.

Why?

"To my buddy who said that I'd never be the host of 'The Tonight Show,' and you know who you are," Fallon said, "you owe me a hundred bucks, buddy."

And out came Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian, Rudy Guliani, Mike Tyson and many others, slapping down bills.

During the rest of the show, Fallon pulled out old bits with fresh takes - such as an evolution of hip-hop dancing with Will Smith and 'Late Night Superlatives.'

With Fallon at the helm, the show moves back to New York for the first time since then-host Johnny Carson took it to Los Angeles in 1972.

For the rest of the week, the star power will burn equally bright.

Fallon's guests will include Jerry Seinfeld, Justin Timberlake and Michelle Obama.

The real challenge will be next week, and the next month, and the next year.

For most of his 22 years, Fallon's predecessor, Jay Leno, sat at the top of the late night talk show totem pole.

Sure, Leno was critically panned for his milquetoast interviews and his predictable jokes. But the masses loved him.

How will Fallon fare?

That's the big question.

For one thing, the late night landscape has changed. The hosts - like Conan O' Brien and Jimmy Kimmel - skew younger. And with Fallon, NBC hopes the audience will too.

While one-time host Johnny Carson has been the template all future hosts emulated, Fallon says he will fashion his stint after a different host: The original host, Steve Allen.

Allen's was a free-wheeling hodgepodge of chat, skits, piano-playing, ad-libbing, man-on-the-street interviews and loopy stunts.

Fallon is a capable guitarist and musical mimic who has done dead-on parodies of Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young, among others. Bits with guests such as Michelle Obama and Justin Timberlakehave gotten millions of views online, and segments such as "Slow Jam the News" have some of the whimsical quality that Allen was fond of.

Monday night's show ended with a new shareworthy moment: U2 and The Roots playing a goosebump-inducing, stripped-down version of "Ordinary Love."

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February 18th, 2014
07:31 AM ET

This BASE Jump is Very Illegal!

Police search for a BASE jumper in Canada seen in the incredible video above jumping  from a ski gondola. CNN's Stephanie Elam reports.

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February 18th, 2014
07:14 AM ET

Zimmerman Claims to Be Victim, Sparks Outrage

Mainstream press and bloggers are criticizing George Zimmerman for claiming he was a "scapegoat" and a victim of a "miscarriage of justice" in an interview with "New Day" Monday. CNN's Erin McPike reports.

Here's some of the exchange between Chris Cuomo and Zimmerman:

Cuomo: What was the miscarriage of justice?

Zimmerman: The fact that two law enforcement entities stated that I had acted within the laws of our nation, in self-defense.

Cuomo: You don't think it was about the law?

Zimmerman: I know it wasn't, yes.

Cuomo: And what does that make you?  How do you, how does that make you feel?

Zimmerman: Like a scapegoat.

Cuomo: A scapegoat for…?

Zimmerman: The government, the President, the attorney general.

On this comment, one Washington Post blog said it shows "how delusional he is."

SEE VIDEO ABOVE FOR FULL STORY 

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February 18th, 2014
07:00 AM ET

Murder Suspect's Bombshell Claims Raise Questions

Reporter Francis Scarcella walked into the Northumberland County Prison in Sunbury, Pennsylvania, with plenty of questions for the woman accused along with her husband of luring a man with a Craigslist ad, then killing him.

He walked out with a bombshell of a story that's sent police and the press alike scrambling for answers.

Miranda Barbour told Scarcella, a reporter for the Daily Item newspaper in Sunbury, that she'd killed before. And not just once or twice.

"She said, she has, you know, done this before," Scarcella told CNN affiliate WNEP of his Friday interview with the 19-year-old murder suspect. "And I said, 'What's the actual number?'"

"And she said, 'Under a hundred,'" Scarcella told the station. Barbour said she had stopped counting at 22 killings, according to Scarcella's story in the Daily Item.

"She kind of floored me," Scarcella told CNN affiliate WBRE.

Barbour told the Daily Item that the killings occurred over the past six years in Alaska, Texas, North Carolina and California. That's sent investigators in those states back to their cold-case files, but it's also raising questions among people who study serial killers.

"Anything is possible, and of course it's conceivable that she's a serial killer," Northeastern University criminologist Jack Levin told CNN. But he said few women are serial killers, and those few are typically older and don't use knives, as Barbour is accused of doing in the Pennsylvania case.

Authorities haven't yet corroborated any of Barbour's claims, including statements that she was involved in Satanism. Her alleged confession has raised questions among attorneys, missing persons experts and even a representative of the Church of Satan, the nation's largest satanic body.

"Thorough investigation will likely demonstrate that this cult story is fiction," said Peter Gilmore, the New York-based head of the Church of Satan.

In Alaska, state police are looking into the claims and will pursue "any leads that may present themselves," Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Megan Peters told CNN. And Monica Caison, the founder of a missing persons center in North Carolina, said her phone started ringing Sunday night with questions from families whose loved ones haven't turned up in years.

"It sends everybody into a panic mode - a hopeful panic mode," Caison said. "They want to be one of those, but they don't want to be one of those. They want their nightmare to end."

For more, visit CNN.com 

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