Jimmy Fallon has reportedly signed a new contract that will pave the way for him to become the next host of NBC’s Tonight Show. NBC, who has done their standard terrible job handling the transition of hosts for the Tonight Show (remember Leno/Letterman?), reportedly wants Jimmy Fallon to take over the Tonight Show in time for the winter Olympics in February 2014. But Midwest Mike, it’s April 2013, that’s nearly 1 year away you say. I know dear reader. This is part of what NBC does that shows they make their decisions with a dart board rather than through any actual critical thinking.
Now, as I was writing this update about the news Jimmy Fallon has signed a new contract, Jay Leno has just announced that he will be departing the Tonight Show in the spring of 2014. Jay Leno has been the host of the Tonight Show for 22 years (unbelievable right?) and his time will come to an end in this spring. “Congratulations Jimmy,” Leno said. “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.”
The shake-up at the Tonight Show and at Late Night will leave NBC scrambling to find a new host for Late Night. Seth Meyers of Saturday Night Live is already in talks to take over Late Night. SNL Executive Producer Lorne Michaels is the Executive Producer of Late Night as well and replacing one SNL alum with another seems to be the way this will go. In any event, NBC is taking their shows in a younger direction going after younger viewers. Jimmy Fallon has a huge following in the 20 something age group and Meyers as the head writer of Saturday Night Live has his finger on the pulse of the youth market. Both hosts are very appealing to NBC who wants their late night talk shows to be more than background noise for people to fall asleep to or to do other late night type activities too.
It will be interesting to see how the transition plays out. Will NBC let Leno stay on the air and if he does, will he behave? We don’t know. Stay tuned for more news as it becomes available.