Jimmy Fallon will take over the “Tonight Show” from Jay Leno in 2014, NBC announced. But, Conan O’Brien says he will believe it when he sees it.
Back in 2009, Leno stepped down when O’Brien hosted the show for several months, but the veteran late-night star eventually reclaimed his hosting gig in 2010.
But this time, it seems Leno will be done with “Tonight” for good.
“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,” Leno said.
Fallon, 38, released a similar statement, saying: “I’m really excited to host a show that starts today instead of tomorrow.”
The 62-year-old Leno took over “Tonight” from Johnny Carson in 1992.
Steve Burke, Chief Executive Officer of NBCUniversal, called Leno an “entertainment icon” and said the timing of the move couldn’t be better.
“We are purposefully making this change when Jay is #1, just as Jay replaced Johnny Carson when he was #1,” he said. ”Jimmy Fallon is a unique talent and this is his time.”
Over the past several weeks, many speculated Leno was on the way out as he mocked NBC execs on air, leaving viewers wondering if tensions were running high behind the scenes at “The Tonight Show.”
“You know the whole legend of St. Patrick, right? St. Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland — and then they came to the United States and became NBC executives,” Leno joked on on a recent episode of the show.
In the announcement on Wednesday, NBC confirmed rumors that the show would move from Burbank, Calif., to New York City and be filmed once again in the 30 Rock studios.
“As part of the transition, ‘The Tonight Show’ will be returning to its original home in 30 Rock in New York and will be executive-produced by Emmy Award winner Lorne Michaels (‘Saturday Night Live,’ ’30 Rock’),” the NBC announcement stated.