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NBC Announces Jimmy Fallon Will Succeed Jay Leno as ‘Tonight’ Host Next Year

Jimmy Fallon Jay Leno
NBC

You’ve heard the rumors that Jimmy Fallon would take up the mantle of ‘Tonight’ from Jay Leno when he retired — the pair even notably addressed them through song.

And today, April 3, NBC officially announced it’ll actually happen.

Said Leno in a statement, “Congratulations Jimmy. I hope you’re as lucky as me and hold on to the job until you’re the old guy. If you need me, I’ll be at the garage.”

To which Fallon replied (also in a statement), “I’m really excited to host a show that starts today instead of tomorrow.”

Leno is all set to give up his duties in the spring of 2014, which will mark 22 years that he’s been in the ‘Tonight’ show chair. You know, not counting that time it was given to Conan O’Brien, who barely had time to get it warm before it was snatched out from underneath him.

When Fallon takes over, the program will, as suspected, move back to New York where it began. Entertainment Weekly expects an announcement to be made soon about who will take over Fallon’s time slot, but if the rumor mill proves correct, it’ll be ‘SNL‘ writer Seth Meyers.

Steve Burke, Chief Executive Officer of NBC Universal, of the ‘Tonight’ show changes:

“Jay Leno is an entertainment icon, making millions of people laugh every weeknight for more than 20 years. His long reign as the highest-rated late-night host is a testament to his work ethic and dedication to his viewers and to NBC. We are purposefully making this change when Jay is #1, just as Jay replaced Johnny Carson when he was #1.  Jimmy Fallon is a unique talent and this is his time.  I’m thrilled he will become the sixth host of ‘The Tonight Show’ at exactly the right moment, in conjunction with our coverage of next year’s Winter Olympic Games from Sochi, Russia.”

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