BURBANK, Calif. — NBC made it official today, announcing that Jay Leno’s tenure as host of “The Tonight Show” will end next spring and Jimmy Fallon will take over, with the entire production moving from Burbank to New York.
“Jay Leno is an entertainment icon, making millions of people laugh every weeknight for more than 20 years,” NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke said.
“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.”
Leno has been hosting the show since 1992, when he took over for Johnny Carson. He was briefly replaced as host in 2009, when Conan O’Brien took over the job. But Leno, who had been moved to a late-night show that struggled in the ratings, was moved back to “Tonight” in March 2010. O’Brien now hosts a late-night show on TBS.
Fallon’s version of the show will be executive produced by his former boss at “Saturday Night Live,” Lorne Michaels, according to the network.
Rumors about the changeover in the show had been circulating for weeks.
Fallon and Leno even made light of the situation this week in a musical skit.
“Congratulations Jimmy,” Leno said today. “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, who hosts “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” said, “I’m really excited to host a show that starts today instead of tomorrow.”
NBC did not announce plans for replacing Fallon on “Late Night.”
“The Tonight Show” has originated from Burbank since 1972.