All the rumors and speculations can be put to rest, now.
NBC announced Wednesday that Jimmy Fallon will succeed Jay Leno on ‘”The Tonight Show.”
Leno will finish up his current contract hosting the show through Spring 24. Fallon is currently the host of “Late Night” at 12:30 a.m.
According to Entertainment Weekly, if NBC made the decision to give the spot to Fallon earlier, it would have to pay out million in penalty fees to Leno. [embedgallery id=130354]
“Jay Leno is an entertainment icon, making millions of people laugh every weeknight for more than 20 years,” said Steve Burke, Chief Executive Officer of NBCUniversal. “His long reign as the highest-rated late-night host is a testament to his work ethic and dedication to his viewers and to NBC. We are purposefully making this change when Jay is #1, just as Jay replaced Johnny Carson when he was #1. Jimmy Fallon is a unique talent and this is his time. I’m thrilled he will become the sixth host of ‘The Tonight Show’ at exactly the right moment, in conjunction with our coverage of next year’s Winter Olympic Games from Sochi, Russia.”
With Fallon as the new host, “The Tonight Show” will come home to New York City. It will also be executive-produced by the man behind “Saturday Night Live” and “30 Rock,” Lorne Michaels.
“Congratulations Jimmy,” Leno said in a statement. “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.”
Fallon responded saying he is excited “to host a show that starts today instead of tomorrow.”
It is not yet known who will take over as host of “Late Night.”
Follow Mary Ann Georgantopoulos on Twitter @marygeorgant