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.

 
  • Mike

    FOX would easily hire Leno

  • Gary Middleton

    There is a 0.0% chance of Fox hiring Jay Leno.

  • Nick

    Lol. I could see FOX hiring Leno. Let’s not treat 65 like it’s ancient.

    Maybe instead of firing him altogether, NBC should transfer him over to Today to replace Matt Lauer.

  • GARebelman

    TMZ is reporting that when Jay did his last contract, there was a load of clauses that they couldn’t cancel him before September 2014 without a huge payout. More so than they ever thought about paying Conan. So don’t expect any “Olympic launch”.

  • Gary Middleton

    Nick, it’s very hard for Fox to put a nightly talk show on the air. The stations have various commitments with various expiration dates and various inclinations to give up the time period.

    In an 18-49 competition, 65 going on 66 will be ancient. We know what Jay’s demo ceiling is, and I don’t think Fox wants to find out what the floor is.

  • Gary Middleton

    GAR, it reminds me of the Seinfeld where George wouldn’t leave a company until his term was up. They’re going to potentially make Jay’s life quite miserable between now and his last day. No promos, gutted show budget, etc. They will find a way to be in a position to say that Jay was no longer “#1″ when he exited.

  • Nick

    @Gary I know. Plus aren’t FOX stations carrying Arsenio’s new late night talker beginning this fall?

    @GAR That’s really interesting, and incredibly smart. I believe Letterman’s contract is also up at the same time, which is very interesting, because it seems like Letterman will definitely be leaving (whether he is “fired” or he decides not to return, it seems like it will be a mutual thing). Although, I also believe Letterman has a clause in his contract that would allow him to leave at the end of the regular TV season. Seems like either Leno and Letterman will be going off together, or Leno might be hosting a few months without the competition of his long-time rival.

  • GARebelman

    @Gary – While that wouldn’t surprise me in the least, I guess that leaves Jay the option to mock NBC right to the end. From the looks of it, they really enjoy their 5th place status.

    The young end of the Demo is probably the most least dependable in terms of regular viewing habits. I don’t see Fallon somehow fixing the ratings with the shape NBC is in.

  • Gary Middleton

    Nick, absolutely.

  • Gary Middleton

    About Fox and Arsenio, I mean. I don’t think Dave is leaving at the end of this contract, my belief is he will hang on for dear life.

  • Gary Middleton

    “While that wouldn’t surprise me in the least, I guess that leaves Jay the option to mock NBC right to the end.”

    I hope he doesn’t do that too much, GAR. If he can leave on an up note, without looking a bitter and vindictive multimillionaire, it will be a much better set up for the next stage of his career. Which I hope will be as a regular guest on other people’s shows like in the 1980s.

  • Douglas in TN

    No, Dave is not leaving…even if he lasts one week past Leno. He can then, and some would agree, that he is the ultimate winner of the first round of the late night wars, with boatloads of Emmy awards, Kennedy Center and other honors and awards, and his main rival being fired by NBC twice.

  • GARebelman

    @Gary – He does at least one joke a night. Nowhere near overkill when Dave or Conan make their entire monologues on one subject matter.

    I wouldn’t mind the guest approach either. Craig and Jay seem to enjoy each others company quite a bit.

  • Nick

    While it’s understandable to want Leno to remain respectable in his final days at TTS, you have to admit, the funniest shows Conan did in his 7 month tenure at TTS were in the last week.

    Can CBS really afford to keep Letterman around? I can’t imagine his show is still making them money.

  • GARebelman

    I agree. CBS gives Letterman anywhere between 7 and 10 million viewers at 10PM. NBC gives Jay 2-3 million (outside of Chicago Fire). And Letterman still puts up these horrid numbers.

  • Nick

    It’s pretty astonishing to think that just 4 years ago, 5.5 million people were watching Leno and over 4 million were watching Letterman. Leno has certainly declined, but NBC only has itself to blame with the horrible 10pm leadins they have been giving him since he returned 2 years ago. It’s pretty sad when The Jay Leno Show was pulling in higher numbers than what they have in the slots now.

  • GARebelman

    Indeed. I think the Jay Leno show pulled between a 1.3 to 1.5 Demo with about 4-5 million viewers each night. That’s way higher than Smash, Deception and an SVU repeat and even Rock Center on Friday

  • Douglas in TN

    If I were Jay Leno, knowing that the news has been out, and that the leaks were deliberate and, I think, malicious, from NBC, I’d pull a Jack Paar and just walk out of the studio and go home and count my money. Knowing the way NBC feels about him, they’d likely do nothing about it.

  • Gary Middleton

    “While it’s understandable to want Leno to remain respectable in his final days at TTS, you have to admit, the funniest shows Conan did in his 7 month tenure at TTS were in the last week.”

    Absolutely, but the cost longer term was devastating in my opinion. Like an incredible party that leaves behind a vicious hangover and insanely huge bar tab. People don’t want to see a self-pitying or bitter or vindictive person who has had the amount of good fortune that Conan/Dave/Jay/etc has had. Deep down Conan knew it, as he denounced bitterness in his final segment. But it rang about as true as Jay’s “good luck, buddy!” as he passed the torch.

    So I really hope Jay goes out on an up note. I think it helps this time that he’ll be about 65 years old instead of 59. It makes a difference. Also makes a difference that Fallon has always shown Jay enormous respect, while Conan gleefully mocked Jay to his face.

    “Can CBS really afford to keep Letterman around? I can’t imagine his show is still making them money.”

    Someone here once likened Dave’s production to a radio show. In that sense, I think the costs might not be too high. Dave may well have forfeited as much salary as Jay, and just like Jay is probably willing to do the show for nothing.

  • Gary Middleton

    “If I were Jay Leno, knowing that the news has been out, and that the leaks were deliberate and, I think, malicious, from NBC, I’d pull a Jack Paar and just walk out of the studio and go home and count my money.”

    What a terrible idea. Jack Paar led a very sad and bitter final third of his life. Jay Leno is not driven by money, clearly wants to keep working and is reliant on public goodwill to do that.

© 2014 Tribune Digital Ventures