This story first appeared in the April 26 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
New York's politicians might as well have struck up a chorus of "Happy Days Are Here Again" when NBC announced that The Tonight Show, with Jimmy Fallon at its helm, will say goodbye to Burbank to return to New York in 2014. Already, a new studio is being outfitted in Manhattan's Rockefeller Center.
Amid the celebration, though, a few eyebrows were raised at a specific clause in the state's newly extended tax-incentive package that applies to talk and variety programs that relocate to the state after having filmed at least five seasons elsewhere. It seemed so narrowly defined, some suspected a sweetheart deal. But it turns out, The Tonight Show won't be the only program benefiting from the state's largesse. NBC's America's Got Talent, which had been filming in New Jersey, also is heading to the big city.
Meanwhile, The Tonight Show's move is expected to add an estimated 100 permanent jobs as well as temporary construction employment for those building the studio. Says Katherine Oliver of the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment, "Having The Tonight Show return to New York is a great symbol of an incredible comeback."