It’s A Done Deal: Jimmy Fallon Will Replace Jay Leno As ‘The Tonight Show’ Host

Ten years ago, Jimmy Fallon was smoking bongs and laughing at “Jill Butt” with Horatio Sanz. Sometime in 2014, he’ll become the sixth host of The Tonight Show, reports the Hollywood Reporter, following in the footsteps of Johnny Carson, Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien, Steve Allen, and Jack Paar, who also had a friend named Gobi.

Jimmy Fallon’s march to inherit The Tonight Show is nearly complete. The Late Night host has closed a new deal with NBC that will pave the way for him to replace Jay Leno in the 11:35 p.m. slot.

As for the timetable of Fallon’s succession:

Some NBC execs want to launch Fallon’s New York-based Tonight in February during network’s high-rated Winter Olympics coverage, but producer Lorne Michaels is said to prefer to give Fallon more time. Plus, NBC would owe Leno a significant penalty if it took him off the air before his contract expires.

Hm. Let’s see. In one scenario: we’re bombarded with Tonight Show teasers during the Olympics, to a degree not seen since NBC aired Smash promos every nine seconds during Super Bowl XLVI, AND Jay Leno gets a sh*t ton of money. OR, fewer commercials, more speed skating, and no penalty $$$ for Leno. Real chin-scratcher, that one.

The strong frontrunner for that 12:35 a.m. [Late Night] job is said to be Saturday Night Live stalwart Seth Meyers, who could be installed as the new Late Night host when Fallon takes over Tonight. Meyers, like Fallon and his predecessor, Conan O’Brien, is a Michaels protege. “It will be Seth unless something goes awry [in the dealmaking,]” says a source close to the situation.

Jarret’s Room is the 1996 Kentucky Wildcats of SNL sketches. Sorry, Olivia Wilde.

(Via the Hollywood Reporter)