It's official; Jimmy Fallon will take over the reins of "The Tonight Show". Following weeks of speculation about the transition, NBC finally announced on Wednesday, April 3 that Fallon would replace Jay Leno at 11:35 P.M. beginning spring 2014.
"We are purposefully making this change when Jay is #1, just as Jay replaced Johnny Carson when he was #1," said Steve Burke, Chief Executive Officer of NBCUniversal. "Jimmy Fallon is a unique talent and this is his time. I'm thrilled he will become the sixth host of 'The Tonight Show' at exactly the right moment, in conjunction with our coverage of next year's Winter Olympic Games from Sochi, Russia."
Sending well wishes to his successor, Leno stated, "Congratulations Jimmy. I hope you're as lucky as me and hold on to the job until you're the old guy." He added, "If you need me, I'll be at the garage." Fallon, meanwhile, hints that he will stay focused on his "Late Night" show for the time being as he said, "I'm really excited to host a show that starts today instead of tomorrow."
Other late-night show hosts from rival networks have reacted to the switch as well. Jimmy Kimmel of ABC tweeted, "congratulations to my dear, sweet @jimmyfallon - a formidable rival and an incredible lover."
CBS' David Letterman, meanwhile, poked fun at it by recalling the previous time Leno stepped down from "Tonight Show". He said on his monologue according to a "Late Show" transcript released by CBS, "Now earlier today, NBC announced that Jimmy Fallon will take over for Jay Leno as host of the Tonight Show in February of 2014. This is something's wrong here."
The 65-year-old host continued, "This happened once before with Conan O'Brien, and then they had to bring Jay back, and so he had to start his show all over again, and now it looks like the same thing is happening." Letterman would also dedicate his Top 10 list to Leno, revealing "Things We'll Miss About Jay Leno."
Addressing his exit on his own show, Leno hit back at Letterman, "Folks, I got to be honest with you, I had a really awkward day today. I had to call David Letterman and tell him he didn't get the 'Tonight Show' again. Awful! Terrible!" He went on joking, "Jimmy hasn't even taken over yet and the rumors have already started. NBC says in five years they plan to replace Jimmy with Justin Bieber."
NBC hasn't named a replacement for Fallon on the "Late Night" show. Rumor has it, Seth Meyers is the frontrunner to host the 12:30 A.M. show.