The news that everyone kind of saw coming is now official: Jimmy Fallon will take over the Tonight Show in February of next year. He'll helm the show from New York, becoming just the sixth host in 60 years.
From the Atlantic Wire:
"There really aren't any complications like there were the last time," Leno told Carter, referring to the late night wars of 2010 and the Tonight Show host switch that wasn't. "This time it feels right." According to the Times both Leno and NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke contend that they were attempting to make this a "smooth transition," despite all the bad blood so widely reported by Leno and NBC Entertainment boss Robert Greenblatt, who feuded with Leno over jokes the 21-year (plus Conan hiccup) Tonight host made about network ratings, which led to the feud taking to the airwaves and the newspapers before a Fallon transition plan started to sink in.
Leno explained to Carter that even though Burke offered him the chance to stay until the end of his contract in 2014, he turned down the offer. Leno said he told Burke: "I appreciate that, but it’s not really necessary. And I don't want to make it harder for Jimmy. I want to hand off something that’s going to make it easier." Apparently, Leno was even the one who suggested the timing of a Winter Olympics hand-off.
For anyone who else who paid $5 to $13 to see Fever Pitch in theaters, this has to be one of the most unexpected career paths in Hollywood history. I mean... Could anyone else have seen this disliked SNL cast member-turned failed movie star become the successor to Johnny Carson and Jay Leno? And, weirdest of all, become a deserved successor? This could possibly the all-time No. 1 example of a guy falling up. Can't believe the dude got this far.