Jimmy Fallon is replacing Jay Leno as the host of "The Tonight Show" in spring 2014 and will move the show to New York, NBC announced Wednesday, after weeks of speculation.
The takeover comes earlier than many predicted: The New York Times reported that Fallon would replace Leno by fall of next year. Leno has hosted the show for 22 years, with only a brief interruption when Conan O'Brien hosted.
NBC said it also making plans for Fallon's current timeslot, 12:35 a.m.
"Congratulations Jimmy," said Leno. "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."
Said Fallon: "I'm really excited to host a show that starts today instead of tomorrow."
The two hosts sang a duet on Fallon's "Late Night" on Monday that poked fun at the speculation surrounding their shows. The collegiality between Leno and Fallon suggests that this transition will go more smoothly than the last attempt to replace Leno at "Tonight."
NBC's five-years-in-the-making plans to give "Tonight" to O'Brien were dashed in 2010 in one of the most high-profile debacles in the history of television.
Leno was moved to 10 p.m. each weeknight and underperformed in the timeslot. He then signaled that he would be willing to return to the 11:35 slot held by "Tonight," and O'Brien opted to leave NBC rather than accept a move to 12:05.
Two decades ago, NBC lost David Letterman to CBS after a dispute over whether he or Leno would inherit "Tonight" from Johnny Carson.
More to come...