Jimmy Fallon to succeed Jay Leno as "Tonight Show" host

Wed Apr 3, 2013 5:45pm EDT
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By Chris Michaud

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Jimmy Fallon will take over from veteran Jay Leno next year as host of the NBC flagship talk program "The Tonight Show," NBC said on Wednesday, bringing a younger feel to the competitive late-night landscape on U.S. television.

Leno, 62, will wrap up what will be 22 years as host of "The Tonight Show" in the spring of 2014 - some seven months before his contract was officially due to end.

Fallon, 38, the current host of "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" will "transition into new hosting duties on 'The Tonight Show'" after Leno ends his run, NBC said in a statement.

The network also said it was moving "The Tonight Show" from its Burbank studio, outside Los Angeles, to New York, where it began in 1954.

No specific date was announced, but the change will take place in conjunction with NBC's broadcasts of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, next February.

Wednesday's announcement ended months of speculation and followed a skit on Fallon's show by him and Leno on Monday night in which they played down reports of rivalry and made fun of the rumor mill.

Leno, who was replaced by Conan O'Brien in 2009, only to return a few months later in a public relations debacle for the network, congratulated Fallon.

"I hope you're as lucky as me and hold on to the job until you're the old guy," he said in a statement.   Continued...

Late night talk show hosts Jay Leno (L) and Jimmy Fallon pose backstage at the 70th annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, California, January 13, 2013. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson