Jimmy Fallon Officially Named Tonight Show Host
And so it goes. After twenty-two (not entirely uninterrupted) years hosting the Tonight Show and leading it to first place ratings, Jay Leno is stepping aside (not entirely voluntarily). The network formally announced that Jimmy Fallon will take over the show in the spring of 2014.
Leno and NBC were involved in an infamously bobbled plan to replace the late night host with Conan O’Brien a few years ago. Leno was given a show at 10pm, before NBC tried to move him back to 11:30pm with O’Brien moving to midnight.
In addition, Leno recently began blasting NBC executives in his monologues. When Leno got an annoyed email from an NBC exec himself, the jokes got even sharper.
The debacle has made many cynical about whether Leno will really go this time, and has made NBCUniversal all the more eager to create the public appearance that the transition is smooth. CEO Steven Burke tried to make it seem as if everything is going according to plan:
“We are purposefully making this change when Jay is #1, just as Jay replaced Johnny Carson when he was #1. Jimmy Fallon is a unique talent and this is his time. I’m thrilled he will become the sixth host of ‘The Tonight Show’ at exactly the right moment, in conjunction with our coverage of next year’s Winter Olympic Games from Sochi, Russia.”
Using the free publicity to plug the less-popular Olympics in a country most Americans still fear? Stay classy, NBC.
The Tonight Show will move back to it’s originally home in New York, and SNL executive producer Lorne Michaels will take over as EP.
The Hollywood Reporter has stated that Seth Meyers is all but secured to take over for Fallon, creating an even stronger precedent of success leading from the Weekend Update desk in recent years.