Wednesday, April 03, 2013

It's Official: Jay's Out, Jimmy's In For Tonight

As you know from my discussion of this for the past month, the headwinds had been moving in this direction for awhile already, so today's big announcement may come off as a bit anti-climactic. Nonetheless, NBC has made official their second Tonight Show transition of the last five years. As of Spring 2014, Jay Leno will cede the late night throne he's held for more than two decades, and hand it off to Jimmy Fallon, who entered the late night scene only a few short years ago, and is really benefiting handsomely simply by being in the right place and the right time(slot).

Assuming this all pans out as they say, with the promise of the Fallon-ized Tonight moving to/staying in New York, that makes the big winner in all this shuffling not Fallon, but rather Saturday Night Live impresario Lorne Michaels, who's stewarded
Late Night since 1993 under both Conan and Jimmy, and will now gain a producer credit for this new iteration of Tonight. That would give Michaels undisputed dominion over NBC's post-primetime landscape -- the only place where the Peacock isn't hemorrhaging money these days -- from Monday through Saturday.

While it's still an open question as to whether Leno, the Connor McLeod of the after-eleven set, will actually retire without Fallon being forced to take his Quickening, I do wonder how Conan O'Brien is feeling right around now. With all the drama that led to his NBC ouster now receding into memory, would it have been worth his while to simply take the demotion to midnight that NBC offered him and wait out Jay's contract, or was a long Tonight tenure just never in the cards for the formers Simpsons staffer (who just saw his own TBS yakker extended through November of 2015, so it's not exactly like he's living on the streets).

Check out the make-nice statement from the transitory Tonight Show hosts at the link, with Leno assuring Fallon he'll "be at the garage" should he need him. Yeah, I wouldn't be waiting for that phone call, Jay. Meanwhile, you can also catch the skit below that Fallon and Leno did a few nights ago as a bridge between Tonight and Late Night -- the first time either show has ever done something like this, as far as I know -- addressing all the rumors (which have now turned out to be true).

(Source: Deadline)

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