Jimmy Fallon will soon be replacing Jay Leno as the host of NBC's "Tonight Show". According to the New York Times on March 20, NBC executives have made a commitment to Fallon to succeed 62-year-old comedian Jay Leno as the new host of the "Tonight Show" by fall of 2014.
Jimmy Fallon is currently host of NBC's "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon". Fallon was officially approached by NBC in early 2008 to replace then "Late Night" host Conan O' Brien. In May 2008, Fallon was officially announced as the new host and "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" premiered on March 2, 2009.
At the same time Jimmy Fallon took over "Late Night" in 2009 to replace long-time host Conan O' Brien, O'Brien replaced Jay Leno as the "Tonight Show" host. That decision was reversed only seven months later when O'Brien failed to attract a large enough audience and ratings fell.
Even though Leno is ranking No. 1 among total viewers of all late night TV, his strained relationship with NBC management has prompted the network to "pass the torch" from Leno to Fallon. Recently, Leno has made jokes in his "Tonight Show" monologue spoofing the network's prime-time schedule and has referred to his NBC bosses as "snakes".
NBC is actively trying to temper the feud with Leno on the "Tonight Show" as they work out plans to replace him with Fallon. As part of the unofficial agreement with Fallon to take over the "Tonight Show", the set would move back to its roots in New York from Burbank, Calif. Currently, NBC is building a new state-of-the-art studio for Fallon in its headquarters building at 30 Rockefeller Plaza.
As a native of New York State, Fallon prefers to remain in New York where he has hosted "Late Night" for the past four years. He is also a long-time associate of "SNL" executive producer Lorne Michaels and would be able to keep that relationship intact by staying in New York. But, most importantly, his house band the "Roots" would be able to continue participation on the "Tonight Show" with a set based in New York.
In a recent interview with GQ, Fallon says that he's not in a rush to leave "Late Night" to replace Leno. "Who really cares," he says. "In the nicest way. It would be great, sure, I guess. I'd love it, but it's not on my mind."
One unanswered question is what will NBC do with its "Late Night" franchise? Who do you think will replace Jimmy Fallon as the new "Late Night" host? Will Conan O' Brien be invited back? Sound off in the comments.