BY KIM DICKSON
SC Staff Writer
The rumors are true that after 22 years of hosting “The Tonight Show,” Jay Leno is leaving his longtime hosting gig behind him. NBC has recently confirmed that Jimmy Fallon will take over the talk show in February 2014.
This is not the first time Leno has said he was leaving. Leno briefly left the show in 2009 and handed it over to fellow talk show host Conan O’Brien. O’Brien only hosted the show for one year before Leno returned to his desk at the NBC Studios in Burbank, Calif.
Leno’s sudden decision to continue hosting sparked a media controversy between himself and O’Brien, but Leno seems to be serious about leaving the show for good this time.
Leno told The New York Times that it’s different this time because he is part of the decision making, “the last time the decision was made without me. I came into work one day and — you’re out.”
Leno had big shoes to fill when he signed onto the show in 1992.
Johnny Carson was wrapping up his 30 year run as host when Leno took over. Carson is one of the best known television hosts and comedians in history, but “The Tonight Show” ratings over the past 20 years that Leno has hosted proved that he could take on the task.
“The Tonight Show” is the No. 1 late night talk show on television. And NBC wants to continue the prestige of the show.
Fallon seems to be the right choice to succeed Leno since he has been part of the NBC family since 1999 when he joined the cast of Saturday Night Live. Fallon quickly rose to fame from the Weekend Update skits that he performed along side SNL favorite Tina Fey. He continued his relationship with NBC when he started hosting his popular talk show Late Night with Jimmy Fallon back in 2009.
The Huffington Post says that Fallon “has developed a variety show that blends music, celebrity impressions and an enthusiastic approach to the talk show format to make it one of the most unique late night programs on the air.”
Fallon’s unique approach to hosting may give him a boost when he starts “The Tonight Show” next year, which he plans to bring back to 30 Rock in New York after being filmed in California for the past 41 years. The two talk show hosts filmed a four-minute video to clear up all the rumors.
The clip starts with Leno leaving the stage after his show. He is followed by reporters who are asking if Jimmy Fallon is really taking his hosting spot. Leno calls Fallon to reassure that they will continue their friendship even after the torch is passed on. But it wasn’t all serious talk in the clip; they sang their own rendition of “Tonight” from West Side Story.
As for what Leno will be doing in his spare time after he leaves next year, he hinted in a recent statement that he will be playing around with his cars, “Congratulations Jimmy. 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.”
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