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

    We have to be patient with Mario right now…he must be hurting. It’s like his favorite of the Charlie’s Angels is leaving. The reality that the love of his life being fired hasn’t sunk in yet.

    I joke when I say that Leno will go on Dancing with the Stars, but I really do see Leno heading into a Wayne Newton/ Vegas oblivion.

    Neither ABC or CBS will be interested in him, and the Fox idea is ludicrous.

    What I do see him doing, and doing well, is a series, or a series of shows, on his car collections.

  • Hector

    Jimmy Fallon releases statement regarding The Tonight Show

    People of Earth:

    NBC executives told me they intended to move the Tonight Show to New York and name me the future host. I sincerely believe that giving me the Tonight Show will seriously damage what I consider to be the greatest franchise in the history of broadcasting. The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon simply isn’t the Tonight Show.

    So it has come to this: I cannot express in words how much I enjoy hosting the Late Night show. My staff and I have worked unbelievably hard and we are very proud of our contribution to the legacy of Late Night. But I cannot participate in what I honestly believe is the destruction of The Tonight Show. Some people will make the argument that in today’s TV landscape with many choices of shows and hosts on network and cable a talk show host job doesn’t matter. But with the Tonight Show, I believe nothing could matter more.

    There has been speculation about when a change may happen but, to set the record straight, NBC has not finalized a deal and honestly has no idea what happens next. My hope is that NBC and I can resolve this quickly so that my staff, crew, and I can do a show we can be proud of, for a company that doesn’t make horrible decisions.

    Have a great day and, for the record, I am truly sorry about laughing through all those SNL sketches; I’ve always been that way.



  • Nick

    Wow. I don’t even know what to say right now.

  • Nick

    Wait…where did he make that statement?

  • Douglas in TN

    Hector’s having some fun with, of course, Conan’s terrific “People of Earth” letter from a few years ago.

  • Gary Middleton

    “Leno’s not going to reduce himself again to be a second tier host. He’s not going to host a once-a-week program nobody is going watch.”

    KS, I think he might. Just like Dick Cavett and Dennis Miller and Phil Donahue started with big shows and ended with little ones on cable. If Jay wants to stay on TV, that’s what it will take. There’s no shame in being a touring stand up with a little cable show. Jerry Seinfeld is a touring stand up with a podcast.

  • Nick

    Gary, you make a good point. Sometimes, you do something that you just cannot top. Seinfeld had what most critics rated as the #1 show of all time. Jay Leno had The Tonight Show. These are things that don’t last ever, and they’re things that just cannot be topped. Saying that Leno cannot do anything accept retire is nonsense. He isn’t even 65 yet.

  • Adam

    Jay’s clearly headed for another network.

  • Douglas in TN

    It almost certainly won’t be a broadcast network. Wonder if another like Comedy Central would be interested, or if they think he’s too milquetoast for them.

  • Gary Middleton

    Jay would never get hired by Comedy Central. They’re good with middle-of-the-road, as their association with Jeff Dunham showed. But Jay is too old, imo.

  • Nick

    FOX would be the only network he could go to.

  • Neal

    Doug, you’re delusional again! NBC has made no announcement and they are still denying the change! I bet you that Leno will be on the air as long as he wants! You realize his ratings are going to go even higher now and NBC will realize they can’t fire him!

    KScott, a once a week Leno show would get huge ratings and is definitely doable. The question is if Leno wants it!

  • Adam

    Get a load of yourself. There’s been no announcement because the deals are being worked out and discussions are still ongoing.

  • kscottk11

    “a once a week Leno show would get huge ratings and is definitely doable. The question is if Leno wants it!”

    Neal, I don’t think Leno would want to do a show once a week. Leno’s show has a daily/weekly ebb and flow to it. And I don’t think a once a week show would work. I don’t think he would be able to draw a regular audience or book guests. I think a once a week show would turn quickly into an “awkward mess.” It’s questionable if anyone would even offer him that.

    Neal, did you see that 10:00pm “train wreck” of a show Leno did?

    Leno wants to work full time. But I think he would like to do a show with spite opposite NBC’s 11:30 hour.

    But will someone offer him the chance, that’s the question.

  • lancelot48

    NBC is last in the ratings for one reason only, they are blithering idiots. I’m not a great fan of Leno, but when your Station is perennially last in ratings and the only good thing you have is the Late Night one two punch of Leno and Fallon, why mess with it.
    Sometimes the idiocy of Companies amaze me.

  • Dan

    lancelot, NBC would be a foolish company if they were not making long term plans to change. What is your business background that says they should stick with a #1 show even though it is declining and make no plans for down the road?

    Let me talk business for a minute and see if you still think NBC are idiots.

    Let’s say you own a mom and pop corner store. Cigarettes are your #1 seller and have been for the last 20 years. Every year though your cigarette sales are declining as people stop smoking. Do you look at your business and say “I’m not going to change a thing, cigarettes are #1″ or are you smart enough to say “at the trend I am seeing I will keep losing revenue each and every year so I better think about a plan where I replace my cigarette revenue with something else that will deliver me the profits I need”?

    Let’s say you own Kodak. You are #1 around the world at selling film. Digital cameras are coming but you say “I am #1 at film, I don’t have to do anything”. What happens down the road as change occurs and the world goes digital? You go bankrupt.

    TV is changing. PVR’s, time shifting, on-demand viewing, social media, etc. ABC has already made a move to put someone younger into late night. CBS will make a move, maybe in 2014, maybe a year or 2 later but they will make a move. So you are NBC. You have the #1 in late night but he’s a 0.8 now and will likely keep dropping a point every year. Profit will decrease every year. A company that ignores this will eventually go the way of Kodak or the cigarette industry. They would be foolish not to be making long term plans to find an alternative to a declining #1.

  • Gary Middleton

    Dan, the Kodak analogy is excellent.

    There was a somewhat comparable bloodletting by CBS in 1971, when they gassed a whole bunch of shows that won their time period. Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres, Hee Haw, and Mayberry RFD were all part of the “rural purge” that made way for a more urban and ‘relevant’ lineup that dominated the 1970s. MTM, Newhart, MASH, All In The Family, etc.

    Hee Haw was so big it continued in syndication for another 21 years.

  • anonymous

    @Dan. The problem with your arguement is that Leno, Letterman, Kimmel, Conan, and Fallon are all cigarettes. Different brands of course, but all cigarettes.

    Late night talk shows (like cigarettes) are in decline. It just so happens that Leno is the Marlboro. Not a smart idea for a convenience store to replace Marlboros with Pall Malls.

  • Douglas in TN

    Poor Mario/ Neal. This is proving to be too much for him.

    He should just close his eyes and imagine…

    “From New York: The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.”

    Coming soon. Really soon. But not soon enough.

  • Nick

    @Dan: “What is your business background that says they should stick with a #1 show even though it is declining and make no plans for down the road?”

    Why don’t you just tune your TV into NBC tomorrow at 11:35 and tell me how “making plans for down the road” worked out for them ;)

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