Fallon to replace Leno confirmed by NBC
It's official: Jay Leno will step down from his hosting gig on "The Tonight Show" and be replaced by Jimmy Fallon.
NBC confirmed on Wednesday what had been television's worst-kept secret. The succession plan calls for Leno to wrap up his 22-year reign in Spring 2014, which marks the end of his current contract. Fallon, who currently hosts the "Late Night" show at 12:30 a.m. will take over at that time.
As previously reported, "The Tonight Show" will return to its original home at 30 Rock in New York and will be executive-produced by "Saturday Night Live" head honcho Lorne Michaels. He replaces longtime executive producer Debbie Vickers.
"Congratulations Jimmy," Leno said in a statement. "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."
Added Fallon in a statement, "I'm really excited to host a show that starts today instead of tomorrow."
"Jay Leno is an entertainment icon, making millions of people laugh every weeknight for more than 20 years," said Steve Burke, Chief Executive Officer of NBCUniversal. "His long reign as the highest-rated late-night host is a testament to his work ethic and dedication to his viewers and to NBC. We are purposefully making this change when Jay is No. 1, just as Jay replaced Johnny Carson when he was No. 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."
On Monday night, Leno and Fallon did their best to indicate there was no bad blood between them by performing a "duet" that mocked the ongoing speculation about their late-night fates.
There was no word on who will replace Fallon as the front man for "Late Night," but it has been widely speculated that "SNL"'s Seth Meyers is the odds-on-favorite for the job.
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