Amid much speculation, NBC has finally confirmed that Jimmy Fallon will succeed Jay Leno come February 2014.
The New York Times’ Bill Carter reports:
NBC plans to announce on Wednesday its plan to install Mr. Fallon as the show’s sixth host at the conclusion of the network’s coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympics from Sochi, Russia. NBC also is to confirm reports that it plans to shake up the axes of the television industry by moving the show from its longtime home in Los Angeles to its birthplace, New York.
And despite his recent jabs at NBC, Leno says he is on board with the succession.
“The main difference between this and the other time is I’m part of the process,” Leno told the Times. “The last time the decision was made without me. I came into work one day and — you’re out.”
He continued that this time around, “There really aren’t any complications like there were the last time. This time it feels right.”
Steve Burke, the chief executive of NBCUniversal, added, “Clearly our goal has been to make this a smooth transition. Jay deserves to be treated like someone who has done a wonderful thing for our company for two decades.”
After Leno leaves the air with much fanfare amid the network also broadcasting the Winter Games in February, the “Tonight” show will also leave its longtime home of Los Angeles for New York.
“Jimmy is a New York guy, and the idea of having a show that is in the city Jimmy has always lived in and has Jimmy’s sensibility made sense,” said Fallon’s “Late Night” executive producer, Lorne Michaels. “It starts from who Jimmy is.”
“There’s no place in the world better to do a show than 30 Rock,” he added. “I know that because I do one every week.”
And after yesterday’s musical duet, it appears things really are OK between Leno and Fallon in the land of NBC.
“The Tonight Show’ was number one when I got it,” Leno told the Times. “I’ve kept it number one for about 90 per cent of my term here; and I would like to see Jimmy keep it at number one — which I’m sure he will.”
“I have nothing but respect for Jay,” said Fallon. “If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t have a show to be taking over.”
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