Speculation about Jimmy Fallon taking over "Tonight Show" is growing wilder with latest report saying that the NBC late-night show will move from Burbank, Calif. back to New York. The show started in 1954 in New York with Steve Allen as host.
While NBC remains mum on the rumored transition, it confirms that it is indeed building a new studio for Fallon in New York, where he hosts his "Late Night" show. The "Saturday Night Live" alum currently occupies the studio in 30 Rock where Johnny Carson once hosted "Tonight Show" before it moved to Los Angeles in 1972.
According to The New York Times, NBC has yet to set the date of the transition, but it is expected to take place as late as fall 2014 since Jay Leno's contract will expire in September next year. A senior executive who speaks on the condition of anonymity says, "There is no way on earth that this [the switch] is not going to happen."
Another report from The Hollywood Reporter says that NBCUniversal is currently debating the timing of the switch. While some top executives at the company want a February launch to take advantage of the promotional platform of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, others including "Late Night" executive producer Lorne Michaels reportedly have concerns about rushing the transition.
In an April issue of GQ, Michaels says the transition is coming sooner or later, with Fallon being the frontrunner to replace Leno. "I'm not allowed to say it -- yet. But I think there's an inevitability to it. He's the closest to [Johnny] Carson that I've seen of this generation," he says.
NBC is expected to make the official announcement regarding the transition on "Tonight Show" at the May upfront presentation to advertisers.