With Fallon Anointed as Leno's Replacement, NBC Focuses on Timing of 'Tonight Show' Handoff; Meanwhile, an 'SNL' Regular Surfaces as Contender for Fallon's 12:35 a.m. Spot THR

Now that the successor to Jay Leno as host of NBC’s “Tonight Show” appears to be decided, key players at the network have turned their attention to deciding when to pull the trigger on the transition -- and the battle lines have been drawn, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The heir apparent to Leno is Jimmy Fallon. Some top NBCUniversal execs want a February 2014 launch for Fallon's retooled "Tonight," which would capitalize on the promotional platform the network has in the 2014 Winter Olympics, the piece reports, citing inside sources.

Lorne Michaels, executive producer of Fallon’s “Late Night,” is on the other side of the debate, expressing concerns about pushing ahead too fast.

“Moving more quickly not only would provide a high-profile launch for Fallon but effectively would keep ‘Tonight Show’ host Jay Leno from moving to a rival network until his contract expires in September 2014,” the story reports.

The piece notes that an announcement is expected at the May upfront presentation. As we reported previously, “Tonight” will move to New York when Fallon takes over.

“NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt and his late-night and alternative chief Paul Telegdy are said to be actively looking for a Fallon replacement at 12:35 a.m.,” THR reports. “One possibility is another Michaels protege, Seth Meyers of ‘Saturday Night Live.’”