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

Mar 21, 2013  •  Post A Comment

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.’”


  1. Lorne Michael – producer on Saturday not funny. Yeah, at this point I want to see NBC fail. They just keep making bone head moves. Wouldnt’ it be funny to see Leno and Letterman, both NBC host going up against and beating NBC.
    No matter what NBC does, the ratings are going to go away. Tune in will be high for Fallon and the first night – 1) to see if he can actually tell a joke without wetting himself.

  2. Yeah, I’ll disagree on this one. Leno is only going to get older and less funny (assuming that’s possible). Even Dave, who has always been funnier, and never able to consistently beat Leno, is showing his age. The Tonight Show is not what it used to be. The Carson luster has worn well off. Only aging TV execs and critics still cling to it like some relic from the past that can be recaptured.

  3. Only NBC would think of replacing Leno, who still wins in the ratings. The people who currently watch Leno, may not watch “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon”.
    NBC should be focusing on fixing their failing prime time schedule– with shows people want to watch. Has NBC given up on fixing their prime time schedule?

  4. I only watch Jimmy Kimmel – looks like he will only share Hollywood with Craig Ferguson now – definitely will help their guest lists. It will be a free-for-all in New York with Conan, Letterman, and Fallon. I would watch Fallon if he would stop singing – put it in his contract, please! Also those stupid games. Leno and Kimmel have the best stunts, but Kimmel is much better as a host. I really don’t know why John Stewart isn’t in the mix.

  5. Man, does NBC have a diversity problem or what? I can hardly tell the difference between Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers. And I’m white!
    Why does NBC hate minorities?

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