Jimmy Fallon will for sure take over the Tonight Show when Jay Leno retires — at least, that’s what pretty much everyone but he and Jay Leno are saying.
The rumors have been out there for a while but have only heated up since NBC’s ratings went in the toilet during last month’s sweeps. The New York Times‘ TV reporter Bill Carter broke it down.
“The idea that Jimmy was getting the show was kind of out there, because Jay’s got one contract that he’s working on, and he’s 62, so there was an expectation that he would be leaving soon, if not this contract, then maybe another year,” Carter said. “So Jimmy getting the show was kind of expected.”
When it happens — rumored to be the fall of 2014 — viewers can expect a move from Los Angeles to the show’s original home in New York City.
“There’s a lot of reasons for it — I think they all feel that the energy of New York helps Fallon,” Carter said. “But also you have Lorne Michaels, who’s the producer of [Jimmy’s] show, and has always been close to Jimmy and he’s of course New York-based. And then you have the band, The Roots, and The Roots are a Philadelphia-based band, and some of the guys I think still commute to New York, and they’re very important to that show and I don’t think they wanted to lose them.”
Lorne Michaels says it’s a definite go. “I’m not allowed to say it — yet,” he told GQ. “But I think there’s an inevitability to it. He’s the closest to Carson that I’ve seen of this generation.”
Fallon himself lightly touched on the rumors during his monologue last night, joking about the 11:30 p.m. time slot, “as my parents call it, ‘It’s still too late!”
“Actually the rumors are true, NBC is turning it into a diving competition — so exciting,” he said.
Oh, and as for who will replace Fallon in his Late Night time slot? We hear Howard Stern wants the job.