It's Official: Jimmy Fallon Will Replace Jay Leno as Host of The Tonight Show in 2014

After 22 years of Headlines, that trademark snicker, and Kardashian jokes, Jay Leno, the very disputed king of late night, will step down from his position as host of NBC's iconic The Tonight Show next spring. Leno and NBC announced the news today via press release after weeks of speculation (and weeks of NBC denying it), confirming that Leno's time as the man who puts America to bed is nearing its end.

Taking over for Leno will be the current vice president of NBC's late-night lineup, Jimmy Fallon, host of the 12:30am Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Fallon has found success by embracing what the young kids call "the power of the internet," using short-form viral videos, memes, and Twitter to transform his late-night program into a fountain of shareable, easy-to-digest tidbits for those of us who have jobs and can't stay up late enough to watch him. (For more info, read this great article by my TV writer crush Laura Bennett on how Fallon has adapted.) Fallon's approach obviously appeals to NBC, who sees this style of late-night entertainment as the future, and in the face of ABC moving the hipper Jimmy Kimmel up to 11:35pm, probably thought, "the sooner the better." 

There has been no announcement of who will replace Fallon as his follow-up, but expect something soon (SNL's Seth Meyers is the rumored frontrunner.)

Leno's departure will take place at the end of his current contract; NBC said, "We are purposefully making this change when Jay is #1, just as Jay replaced Johnny Carson when he was #1." But that's obviously B.S., because it's also time for both sides to move on. NBC and Leno have had a rocky relationship, and the good days the two shared are long gone, as evidenced by Leno's recent jabs at the network in his nightly monologue. 

The thing I find most interesting here is that this should be huge news, but late-night television isn't as important as it used to be, at least in my house. I'd rather spend the hour catching up on my DVR's backlog or watching something on Adult Swim than hearing the today's news filtered through the brains of tired hacks who are desperate to pull out a punchline of any sort. So congratulations to Jimmy Fallon and farewell (or good riddance) to Jay Leno, but I'll be watching last week's Nashville instead. Call me when Louie gets a tryout.


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter if you want to: @TimAtTVDotCom

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"Call me when Louie gets a tryout" - great reference to some great tv.
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Not that I don't like Fallon, but doesn't it seem a bit out of order for him to get Tonight this soon? I just don't feel like he's earned it yet. Letterman and Conan put in at least a decade or more. Letterman and Conan were much more established and had much more of an impact than Jimmy; who has only been a internet fueled blip on the timeline. This is happening too quickly and I feel like he needs to go at least six more years on "Late Night" to really have a resume worthy for an hour earlier.
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So who is the big winner here? Fallon? No, it's Lorne Michaels who now completely controls NBC Late Night. And all in the same building. Lorne never had this much control and he did it without anyone ever really noticing. Lorne has been in control of "Late Night" for two decades and most people probably had no idea. Carson Daly, watch out.
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...So we're just supposed to pretend that the didn't try this once before with Conan?
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I don't understand why they're doing this again...Fallon will do worse than Leno because he's younger and less broad. Leno dominates young viewers; this is suprisingly not ever acknowledged. Dave will dominate. If they want to secure the future and lose viewers in the present, they should have stuck with Conan to begin with.
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Leno "died" after what HE and NBC did to Conan O'brien so i don't even care what happens to him or to late night on NBC ...
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Even though it doesn't make much business sense, I can't help smile when thinking about what poetic justice this is for Carson, Letterman, and Conan. After pushing out Johnny, swindling Letterman, and sabatoging Conan it only seems right. And also if Leno goes to FOX then the viewer wins due to more choices including possibly Seth as Jimmy's successor.
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It's the end of The Tonight Show. Although I haven't been watching it lately anyways, I just don't care for Fallon. He comes across as a network stooge.

I do think Conan was screwed by NBC but I don't blame Leno for that. They tried to force Leno to quit the show before he was ready because they had to cater to Conan and made a mess of the whole thing that resulted in them loosing Conan to another network, just like they did with Letterman. NBC is doing a good job of creating it's own competition.

I don't think Leno will be back for a talk show. I think he's getting tired of it. But I could see him hosting specials or game shows. I wouldn't be surprised if he even produces a sitcom. (I think he would be better at it then Conan.)

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I like Fallon but I agree he likes to suck up to everybody; especially Donald Trump. I've never seen him dislike anything. It makes him seem almost as fake as Leno the brown noser.
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The reason why Leno is to blame is because he kept telling Conan that he was going to retire for sure, in order to avoid hard feelings; Conan was unaware that he had been pushed out. Then Leno's primetime show destroyed Conan's lead in (10PM newscast) and as a result Leno prevented Conan from ever having a real shot (or reasonable amount of time) to establish his show. The truth is if Leno would have left for good and went somewhere else, Conan would still be hosting the Tonight Show.
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Watch out Jimmy...........Jay will want it back 7 months after that!!
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Better get it in writing, Jimmy!
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No kidding. :D
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I use hulu to watch these and kimmel via clips of segments i've grown fond of or look interesting. I skip all monologues, almost all interviews and the lamer sketches that they do.
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I just watch whatever people share like on Reddit, VideoSift, etc.
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I'm sure this will go well, with no drama whatsoever. These NBC people are professionals, and have an excellent track record of handling these transitions smoothly.
Although, personally if I was Jimmy I wouldn't believe it until I was first asked to be a pallbearer at Leno's funeral.
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Jimmy might need Leno to be cremated instead.
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Until the ratings tank, Jay takes his show back, and Fallon is banished to basic cable hell.
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What difference does it make? All these shows are the same - Desk, a mostly empty couch, the same celebrities on to b.s. for five minutes then sell their movie, TV show, book, or whatever, then a band / musician gets their one-time 5 minutes of fame - Wash, rinse repeat. There's no real entertainment just for entertainment's sake anymore.

I don't think NBC will mess with Fallon, as they should have learned a lesson from the Leno/Conan mess. If the ratings tank, then we'll see, but until then I think they'll mostly leave him alone.

Ferguson is losing me. I find he's becoming more obnoxious for some reason. I wonder if he's tiring of the show? He's become somewhat repetitive; he's now yelling about "Secretariat" not being real instead of going along with the whimsical humor of believing it is; he misses opportunities for us to get to know guests you won't see on other shows, like Dr. Who cast members, by wasting their time and ours with too much b.s. nonsense that he should dial it back a bit on; he comes back from commercial with same guest only to say, "we're out of time", so what's the point of the guest remaining for that?. I miss the singing puppets and it seems he's not developing any skits or similar bits like Aquaman, Prince Charles, and such anymore (Not that I liked them, but he was doing something then). Even the female "censor" is gone now without anyone noticing. I may have answered my own question.

I only watch Conan if he has someone on I am interested in, which is very rare.

Leno should do a "Jay's Garage" series for Velocity, Speed, or Discovery channel.
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I think Fallon will do about as well as Conan did and Letterman will run away with the ratings. Except this time there won't be a reason to change anything because Leno will probably be gone from NBC for good. So I think the network will be patient with Jimmy like they should have been with Conan. This will be a chance to see what it would have been like if Conan had been left alone to establish his Tonight Show (b/c same audience, humor, etc.).
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I've never watched Leno or Fallon and find this whole business tedious but if I did have to give any advice to Fallon it would be:
Look them in the eye and speak from the heart.
You gotta go away to come back.
If someone asks you to keep a secret, their secret is a lie.
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I almost can barely find words right now because of how flabbergasted I am at no mention that THIS HAPPENED ALREADY! Deja vu anyone? Of course this isn't big news, how is there no comment in this article about what happened to Conan; or is Conan's name just not allowed to be mentioned in the same sentences as Jay Leno and NBC? Seriously aren't these the words NBC used 5, 6 years ago with Conan- "a hipper, younger audience", then all the older viewers got mad...? Watch out Jimmy, don't go buying a house out there or anything just yet. I love Jimmy and would start watching The Tonight Show again but I'll believe this news in 2015 when Fallon is still sitting in that chair and Leno is no where to be found (on TV, but either way... meh).
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Jimmy won't need to buy a house since Tonight will relocate back to NY just for him. Conan got screwed. Relocation to NY should have happened for Conan as well.
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Yeah, I just read about them actually relocating The Tonight Show to NYC, a little surprising. Why is that something that couldn't happen for Conan? I guess it's like with any business, you can devote over 15 years to a place and still just get screwed over. Well good luck Jimmy, good for you.
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Yeah, as a Conan fan I couldn't be more irritated that Fallon seems to be getting treated in every way Conan should have been. And the reasons for the move are basically the same! And after last time, I'm sure Lorne and Jimmy will do everything contracturally needed to ensure he hosts the show permanently with Leno not coming back. So as a result, I do think this is permanent. So I feel that Jimmy is actually going live out what Conan wanted to do; which really isn't fair.
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And how long will NBC stand behind / change this decision. Time will tell the tale.
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Conan is rolling over in his grave right now.
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Haven't watched Leno since Leno at 10 started. I've moved on, he's dead to me.
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Late Night with Daniel Tosh! Make this happen Internet.
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Monlogue? Check. Trademark gimmicky comedic bits? Check. Witty banter with guests hawking their latest projects? Ehh...
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I love the idea of Late Night with Tosh. I love Tosh but get bored easily with internet videos. So a talk show would abandon that and use his talent more.

The guy who I think really deserves it is Joel Mchale, depending on if or when Community is canceled. He's worked for Comcast (NBC's parent) for years now
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I can get behind that.
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Hate NBC and Leno for what they did to Conan, I feel bad for Fallon, he's doomed because NBC will eventually screw him over
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To NBC's credit, they were more than willing to give Late Night back to Conan. But, to NBC's discredit, it proves that they're not above screwing Jimmy Fallon.
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To their non credit it was at a different time slot. So I don't blame Conan for leaving NBC.
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I am sticking to Jimmy Kimmel.
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I speak for many when I say: don't get too excited Jimmy.

Anyway, I think it's kind of a crazy idea, not that I'm opposed, just that if NBC just recently (3 years ago) got out of a messy late night shuffle, I'm not really sure why you would be eager to do another shuffle again. If they went through the trouble of re-instating Leno, at least keep him in the slot for a while, before making another crazy move. Conan also became a very well-known figure throughout his decade and a half of hosting Late Night, so more people knew who he was than Jimmy.

I also think it's crazy that NBC would force Jay out so early, even when he's leading in all the demographics, but then again this is NBC we're talking about. I think the move might be good news for ABC or CBS, as Leno's audience might flock to either Dave or more likely Kimmel, considering his similar brand of humor to Leno (he's really the closest thing on TV to Leno, despite calling him a "sellout" in interviews.) I really think in this situation, if NBC has a good thing, ratings wise, they should hang onto it, considering how few NBC shows get any kind of ratings.
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I won't be watching either way. Regardless, good luck Jimmy. Enjoy retirement Jay.
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Alleluliah!!!!!!
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Huh? What's that? Jimmy Fallon is stealing Jay Leno's face? Sorry, I'm not really paying attention. Too busy watching THIS:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LuNnp7HsP0s
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When Jimmy comes on an hour later him and Craig won't even be in on at the same time.
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True, but I've only got time for one Late Night show a... night, and Craig is the best of the bunch.
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Truer words were never spoken
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Yup. I'd rather watch Craig any night. Unless Fallon is (1) writing thank you's, or (2) has Justin Timberlake guesting, he's got nothing.
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I'd thumb this comment up a hundred times if I could.
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About time
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Eh, if Fallon gets to alter the format enough to fit him, that's nice. Otherwise they're just ruining him.
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I sure hope so. Maybe finally NBC will go the youth route and let Fallon have artistic control. I won't hold my breath though.
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Leno has sucked since he left standup to do that show. If you have to explain stupid jokes to a stupid audience, I don't see the humor. Ideally, Craig Ferguson and Conan would have been great 11:30 hosts (Conan didn't get much of a chance and Craig is fantastic). Letterman has gotten pretty old and his little Troll Paul should be thrown into a fire pit. I don't get the appeal of Fallon. He was part of the SNL years I boycotted because it was so bad. Kimmel I never really watched, though I liked him on the Man Show. AND he hates Leno too!
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I don't stay up late enough to watch Jimmy Fallon, but I watch a lot of his clips on Youtube. He's a really talented guy. I never have watched Leno. I'm a Letterman gal.
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I just hope all these late night shenanigans do not affect the real king of late night - Craig Ferguson.
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Fallon is very talented and creative, it's obvious when you watch his show, and he has good charisma, but his jokes are a little soft, he never tries to push it to the limit of what he's allowed to do. Craig Ferguson is the greatest in my opinion.
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while I don't think Leno's funny and I'd be fine with him leaving, he should've left years ago instead of screwing Conan over.. not to say that Conan was doing great in that time though.. Jimmy Fallon and Conan seemed to do really well with the later crowd (and the non-main network of TBS) so I'm not sure how well Jimmy Fallon will do earlier.
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I generally agree with the "who cares?" comment. I really, REALLY don't care about late night talk shows and who may or may not be hosting them.
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Oh PLEAAAAAAAAAAAASSSSSSSSEEEEEEEEEE let it be Seth Myers!!!!! PLEASEEEE!!!!!


I love him!!
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I would love to see him behind a desk for longer than 7 minutes once a week, I think that man would do great as a host. Imagine him interviewing REAL people and smirking with those dimples. This has to happen now NBC.
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Oh my god! Imagine!! I hope he can bring Stefan as well! LOL

NBC It HAS TO HAPPEN! Lets start a petition!!
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I'm skeptical. He's ok as WU anchor but he hasn't been as sharp since Amy left (at times a bit mediocre). As a result, I have doubts whether or not he could pull off a whole hour, five days a week.
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You gotta admit SNL itself isnt the same after Amy and Tina! and then Andy left as well...
WU is the best part of SNL and he's very witty I mean watch his solo interviews..
Plus no one is funny for an entire hour (unless we're talking about Dane Cook).. you have guests, props and music to help and an entire writing staff

I think he will be good at it with some help
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I think this is a mistake. Not because Fallon isn't good. He has it in him to be great. But NBC is going to take everything that is good with his current show and not allow him to do it. Which is exactly what happened with Conan. Conan floundered at 1130 because they wanted him to be more for lack of a better term "business like" and didn't allow him to continue the silliness that made his show great. I feel this is going to happen with Fallon as well. I admit he needs to work on his interviewing skills and his monologue. But he skits and his games are fun. And I would be surprised if NBC lets him do that at 1130. I don't see them thinking that beer pong at midnight is going to be a good thing. I hope that isn't the case, I hope they allow him to continue his style, or at least he is smart enough to get it written in his contract that he can do anything he wants. But if not, he is going to go the way of Conan.

Now for the 1235 spot. I don't think they are going to go with Seth Meyers. I think they are going to go with a woman. And the only one I see that would have an inclination to do it would likely be Chelsea Handler. Mostly because she is magic and can get anything on NBC, no matter how crappy it is. Or maybe another, what recent female cast off of SNL could pull it off.
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I agree, NBC wanted Conan to be broader at 1135, but they took away things that meant his old crowd didn't want to watch any more, and he couldn't be broad enough to get the massive numbers of old people that Leno brings in. I feel the same could happen to Fallon (though I'm not his biggest fan), and NBC could end up with another situation on their hands.
For 1235 I don't think that a woman is in play, I don't think Chelsea Handler would leave her cushy job at E!, and female cast offs from SNL are actually doing good stuff on their own right now. I don't particularly like Seth Meyers, but he seems to be the pick as Lorne Michaels still holds executive control over Late Night (I believe).
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why nbc is fixated on the " The Tonight Show " title ?
i believe that the host makes the show , the show doesn't make the host

The Tonight Show was Johnny Carson's and his alone ..
jay leno took that show and made his own .. but that doesn't mean he owns it and its audience

what i want to get at is this

move fallon to 11:30
and jay to 12:30 and see what happens ..

because i can feel the smirk of NBC's CEO's shitty little faces when they announced this news

and i can predict that if fallon doesn't meet their expectation of what the show would be in the future he will also meet the fate of Conan O'Brien

either he get kicked out of the show like Conan , or get back again to 11:30 and replaced with another joker
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They are "fixated" on the title because it's a long running tradition. It wasn't Johnny Carson's and "his alone" as you say. You're wrong about that. Steve Allen and Jack Paar had it prior to him. So I can understand why they want to keep the tradition of the title going. I mean, why not? They've used the title since 1954.
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I like Jimmy Fallon and I'm excited to see what he does with this show. Also, yay for The Roots still being his band. There's no show without The Roots :D
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Fallon is an upgrade to a damaged brand. Leno and NBC crapped all over that show when they didn't hand it to Letterman and later pulled it out from under Conan. It doesn't really matter any longer but the NBC/Leno stink will remain for a long time.
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How long before he comes back and Fallon moves to TBS
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Based on past evidence, this cannot possibly be the end of this story...
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Cool, no more Leno.

Euw, Fallon.

Fallon has the potential to be a host I quite like. In a lot of ways, I think I'm quite similar to him -- which is probably why I don't like him, hehe. But uh, his monologues are horrible and boring. His interviews are boring too, especially because he kisses ass way too much and laughs at everything anybody says. But I can see him improving.

I can totally see Seth Meyers as the new Late Night host. He has the look and demeanor. He'll also likely attract the same crowd Fallon has, which I figure should be a positive, going on right after him. It kinda seems too obvious though.

No matter, though. Craig Ferguson and the Comedy Network duo are all that's needed.
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Fallon does a 2-3 minute, 10-joke monologue. Then it's the fun bits and mostly uneventful interviews. But when there's a fun guest, the show is on another level of greatness.
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I agree. The fun stuff is what Iike the most. Jimmy Fallon to me is highly entertaining to watch.
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It's official: NBC has no idea what they're doing and is comfortable with being "the mediocre network". Jimmy Fallon's generic, flat, unfunny humor will be re-tuned to throw away the young people so they can get that 11:35 middle-aged audience. And that will be followed up by Seth Meyers yelling at the screen for an hour, that should be really awful, though hopefully it means finally loosening that carbuncle from his job as head ruiner of jokes in the SNL writer's room. Gonna be a lot of Lorne Michaels on Late Night NBC now.

The only thing funny on NBC's late night right now is watching them botch the job, watching Leno, who they should have let retire after the 10pm debacle, burn off loyalty and interest.
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I really hope you're wrong on NBC messing with Fallon's formula. He's spent the last few years producing very Internet friendly content - focusing on memes, video games, celebrities that the older demographic could care less about, etc. It would be a shame to toss that aside now.

Have to disagree on Seth Meyers though. I think he's great. Clearly it was the Correspondents' Dinner roast that finally put him in contention for his own show, but I've enjoyed him as a Weekend Update host as well.

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I'd rather they didn't try to change him either but he will have to adapt, there's no doubt. If David Letterman had to adapt then so will Jimmy. At one time Dave was actually considered to be extremely edgy and hip. He went from jumping onto velcro walls to doing boring, uncontroversial segments (like Name your favorite meat). If Jimmy wants to compete he'll have to do the same.
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They toned down Conan when he took over the Tonight Show, no reason to think they won't do it again with Fallon. He'll keep producing content probably but less of it and it'll be more mainstream and sad to watch it get ground under the NBC boot.

Whether you like or dislike Seth Meyers as a comedy writer, I think you have to see that his delivery on SNL weekend update has relied heavily on yelling it at the screen and making himself laugh over tightening up the material.
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It's not that Seth is terrible but that he is adequate or ho hum. His humor is good, solid but it doesn't really wow you or anything
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Seth Myers shtick on SNL irritates the shit of me. (Which is a pretty crude thing to say, now that I think about it.)
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There are times where his limited sense of humor (deadpan/dry/irony/a special emphasis on pronounciation of the puchline) makes me view him as a sort of poor man's Chandler Bing. In comparison to others his humor is sort of limited.

He should start his show with "I'm Seth Meyers, could I be any funnier?"
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Definitely a valid criticism on Weekend Update, but it's a pretty limited role. I do think he's great in more free form environments. I've loved him on various podcasts on which he's appeared, so we'll see how his interviewing skills are when he doesn't have to feed lines to Bill Hader.
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I have only really seen Seth Meyers on SNL, but the thing that would concern me were I invested in the matter is that this will be a limited format and a daily one rather than a weekly one.
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Great points throughout. NBC is setting up to lose the only race it's currently winning. Fallon is the perfect - no discernable trace of edge - choice to replace Leno. Brilliant strategy.
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The sad part is that Leno was a pretty decent stand-up before the Tonight Show turned him into... that guy. Imagine what Fallon will be churned into.
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Completely agree on that thought. I had tickets to see Jay Leno in 1991 when he was still touring. A couple of weeks later he got the Tonight Show gig and canceled the rest of his tour. I wanted to see the guy I bought tickets for on the tonight show and he was never that guy again. He was very edgy and could have you laughing your a$$ off before Tonight. Fallon will be whatever NBC wants him to be - all that charm will turn into smarm and reek of desperation when he can't get ratings.

You can still see that old Jay Leno when he appears on "Real Time" because he and Bill Maher have known each other since both were standups and you get a different Jay when he is on with his friend. You get a little of it when Maher does "Tonight" but he still has all that network pressure to be their Jay.
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Alec Baldwin must still be around, tanking the network.
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HOMONYM! Make it happen NBC
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It's always the other one! :(
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No, the other one.
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