Report: Jimmy Fallon to Take Over as Host of 'The Tonight Show' by Fall 2014

Categories: Late Night TV Ratings

Written By

March 20th, 2013

Jimmy Fallon Justin Timberlake

The New York Times reports that NBC is preparing for a changing  of the guard at The Tonight Show. Though a time table has yet to be finalized, the network plans for Jimmy Fallon, current host of Late Night With Jimmy Fallon,  to replace Jay Leno as host by fall 2014 when Leno's contract expires.

When Fallon takes over, The Tonight Show will move from Burbank, California to New York City. Leno has recently joked about NBC's ratings woes during his monologue, allegedly upsetting the network's executives. Many more details about the transition can be found here.

  • Douglas in TN

    So now we know that somewhere, somehow, Jay Leno was told that his contract for the show would not be renewed.

    How do you think that conversation went down?

    I’m not a fan of post 1992 Jay Leno, thinking him a complete hack and sellout, but I do feel compassion for him being treated as he is, after making hundreds of millions for NBC and being loyal.

    Judging from the last few nights, the loyalty seems to be over. Maybe the real Jay Leno will return.

  • romo

    Why do these shows that only avg 1.5m viewers get so much press.

    Compared to other shows they would be cancelled with that #.

  • Nick

    @Douglas You have a point. If indeed this is more far along than anyone knows, we could be in store for some great comedy coming from Leno.

    But I’m still not sure what to think of this. Does Fallon even want The Tonight Show? Like, did they even consult him before they decided to build him a brand new studio? lol. He seems pretty happy where he’s at, and he’ll have to change his act dramatically if he moves up an hour, which is what hurt Conan the most. I just don’t see why a move is needed while Leno is still #1 and still continues to make a profit.

  • Nick

    @romo I don’t think any of the latenight talkers (except maybe Carson Daly) get as low as 1.5 million. Leno is usually 3.5-4 million, Letterman is usually 3-3.5 million, and the late late talkers are usually around 1.8 million.

  • romo

    To nick:

    talkin 18-49.

  • romo

    Actually now that i look could be closer to just 1m.

  • Nick

    All 3 11:35 talkers are usually slightly above or slightly below 1 million in 18-49.

  • Gary Middleton

    “So now we know that somewhere, somehow, Jay Leno was told that his contract for the show would not be renewed.”

    FWIW, I believe Jay inadvertently let it slip all the way back in August, during an interview with guest Kate Flannery.

  • Nick

    @Gary Is there a video?

  • Amy

    Well the late night hosts certainly get paid well. Letterman makes $30 million/yr.

  • Gary Middleton

    Nick, I can’t find it anywhere. My recollection is she said something mournful about going into the last year of The Office, and he said he understood because he too was going into his last year, but didn’t sound like he was kidding and quickly moved on or backtracked as though he said something he wasn’t supposed to.

  • Nick

    The more I’m thinking about it, the more it’s making sense. The media is really picking up on this “Leno is bashing NBC” story, but they’re not lying. Leno’s been cracking jokes like crazy lately. Last night I counted at least 5 in the first half hour. If NBC’s gonna cut Leno, all I can hope is that Leno will skewer them alive until his last moment on the show.

  • MichaelChickless

    “Jimmy Fallon to Take Over as Host of ‘The Tonight Show’ by Fall 2014″

    And then how long until Leno takes it back?

  • Gary Middleton

    Nick, in a way it was more fun before this announcement, because the NBC jokes didn’t look quite as personally motivated as they will going forward. There was a great paragraph, for Leno, in the Carter article:

    “Mr. Greenblatt, who is responsible for that schedule, directed some pointed criticism at Mr. Leno in an e-mail to him. Mr. Leno stood his ground in a response, asserting that jokes spoofing the network are part of the job for a late-night host.”

    Leno is right, of course, and Greenblatt seems like a guy who should be way more focused on his horrible failure of a schedule than on Jay Leno’s jokes. NBC did 0.96 at 10 pm last week.

  • Douglas in TN

    Could it be that this little pissing match between Leno and the NBC execs has just caused NBC to turn completely against Leno? The way this story has exploded since lunch time today is astounding, and, obviously, it has NBC PR fingerprints all over it.

    Sources are now saying Leno could be gone by February of 2014.

  • Hugh

    Well if they actually get rid of Jay then I suppose they cant bring him back again, again.

  • Douglas in TN

    You can bet there will be certain phrases and clauses in Fallon’s contract that Conan’s lawyers failed to get for him…

    But I’d bet that this time Leno’s contract will just end, with nothing else with NBC.

    Next up, Dancing with the Stars.

  • GARebelman

    The Hollywood reporter says that Fallon called Jay this afternoon when all this stuff started showing up. From what I read he is sketchy and nervous about this so he isn’t orchestrating any of it. Can’t say that I blame Fallon at all. NBC has a history of not having good relationships with employees long term.

    NBC is an expert at blowing up what little wins they have left. I”m surprised they haven’t made the Voice 5 nights a week. The one place they are still number 1 and they want to drop the ball there too.

  • Gary Middleton

    Douglas, Leno has nothing at risk with NBC at this point, imo.

    But I do think the public would like to see him go out with less sniping and more a sense of gratitude- if not to NBC then to the cosmos- for a long run in a great gig.

    I think, and moreso hope, that Jay is going to try to become a full time comedian again with lots of guest shots on other shows. How that is received by the public will be affected by the tone with which he makes his exit.

  • Gary Middleton

    GAR, if this whole plan is real (and I believe it is), then Fallon’s team has no motive to plant stories. Nobody does, really. So I don’t really get any of this. Feels like people are fighting the last war.

© 2015 Tribune Digital Ventures