Jimmy Fallon has reportedly closed a deal to take over NBC’s "The Tonight Show," according to The Hollywood Reporter. The timing for the transition remains unclear while NBC considers how to handle the handover from Jay Leno, the report notes.
The decision has been expected since reports surfaced last month that NBC was preparing to replace current host Leno, 62.
Separately, The New York Times reports that Fallon has extended his contract with the network, with the inclusion that he will succeed Leno at some point. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, although his current contract would have ended in 2015.
According to The Reporter, "NBC has refused to confirm the succession, instead letting Leno and Fallon, 38, tease audiences with jokes about the situation." Earlier this week the network aired a musical number featuring Leno and Fallon singing about the transition, which we posted here.
The THR piece continues: "Still not clear is when exactly Fallon will take over ‘Tonight.’ THR’s source says some NBC execs want to launch Fallon’s New York-based ‘Tonight’ in February during [the] network’s high-rated Winter Olympics coverage, but producer Lorne Michaels is said to prefer to give Fallon a little more time. Plus, NBC would owe Leno a significant penalty if it took him off the air before his contract expires."