Jimmy Fallon's next at bat. The Jay Leno "Tonight Show" era is over -- again. Confirming one of the industry's worst kept secrets, NBC finally announced plans Wednesday to install Fallon as the sixth host of its longrunning late night talk show, beginning next Spring. The network is also no longer dodging rumors of the plans to move "The Tonight Show" from Burbank, California back to its original home in New York City. It's happening. The reports follow weeks of speculation and reports about friction between Leno and NBC brass. Leno has been taking jabs at the network while hosting "Tonight" in recent weeks. But on Monday, the longtime host appeared to have finally come to peace with what was about to happen, participating in a mock duet with Fallon about the pending changes on the late night landscape.
Fallon currently hosts NBC's "Late Night" program, which follows "The Tonight Show." He succeeded Conan O'Brien who moved on to host "Tonight" briefly after Leno stepped down to host a primetime series in 2009. Seven months later, Leno returned to "Tonight" and Conan was out of the job. He's now hosting his own late night show on TBS.
NBC also says it's making plans for Fallon's current 12:35 a.m. time slot. In a statement, Fallon said he was "really excited to host a show that starts today instead of tomorrow." Leno, who has hosted "Tonight" since 1992, also extended his congratulations to Fallon, saying, "I hope you're as lucky as me and hold on to the job until you're the old guy. If you need me, I'll be at the garage." Leno will be 64 when he retires from "Tonight" in 2014. While the show has remained number one more often than not under his watch, NBC hopes that by bringing Fallon into the picture, they will be able to draw in a younger demographic to compete with ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live," which recently moved into the 11:35 pm late night time slot.