Late Night With Jimmy Fallon


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NEW YORK, May 12, 2008 – NBC has identified the last piece in its late night succession plan, naming Jimmy Fallon as the new host of "Late Night" when Conan O'Brien moves to "The Tonight Show" in 2009.

The announcement was made today by Marc Graboff and Ben Silverman, Co-Chairmen, NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios, at a press conference at the Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center.

"We couldn't be happier to have Jimmy back on NBC and to have our number one-rated late night team fully in place for the future," said Silverman, "Jimmy is more than just a likeable guy and a great comedian, he is genuinely interested in what people have to say."

"Jimmy's proven track record and personality make him a natural for this important role that will bring a new generation of fans to 'Late Night,'" said Graboff. "He will put his own distinct mark on late night humor just as he did on 'SNL' and in his other creative endeavors."

Added Rick Ludwin, Executive Vice President, Late Night and Primetime Series, NBC Entertainment, "Simply put, Jimmy has all of the qualities for a late night host -- in addition to being funny, he loves talking to people on and off camera, he's a talented comedy writer and his time at 'SNL' demonstrated not only his ability to entertain, but also the work ethic and dedication it takes to succeed at hosting a nightly show."

A recognized comic talent, Fallon has demonstrated an ability to deliver versatile, standout performances while always staying grounded in his stand-up roots.

Fallon first garnered attention in 1998 when he joined the cast of "Saturday Night Live" and quickly became an audience favorite for his memorable recurring characters and spot-on impressions and in 2000, Fallon became the co-anchor of the "SNL's" signature segment "Weekend Update" alongside Tina Fey.

Fallon ventured off into other television roles, including Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg's Emmy award-winning miniseries "Band of Brothers." A favorite among the MTV audience, Fallon hosted the MTV Movie Awards twice and hosted the MTV Video Music Awards in 2002. Fallon made an impressive turn guest hosting "The Late Show" for an ailing David Letterman in 2003.

Fallon made his feature film debut in Cameron Crowe's "Almost Famous" and went on to appear in numerous films including Woody Allen's "Anything Else," "Fever Pitch" opposite Drew Barrymore and the indie "Factory Girl."

The premiere date for "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" will be announced at a later date. Lorne Michaels is executive producer. "Late Night" is a production of Universal Media Studios in association with Broadway Video. NBC is America's Late Night Leader with the number one-rated "Tonight Show with Jay Leno," "Late Night with Conan O'Brien," "Last Call with Carson Daly" and "Saturday Night Live."

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Here's my main problems with this decision:

1. This has been rumored for the last year, and they never really wanted anyone else. Why is he so great that they wanted him since the beginning?

2. This would have been a great choice.......................6 years ago when he was relevant. What has he done lately?

With that said, I will give him a chance. I was pissed when Conan was picked and I was wrong about him.

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With that said, I will give him a chance. I was pissed when Conan was picked and I was wrong about him.

You're right. When they announced Conan O'Brien, my frst thought was "Who? Conan O'Wha?" He was a longtime writer, but he's never really done anything in front of the camera that I was aware of.

That said, I have seen Jimmy Fallon, and sure, if they were looking for a host who forgets his lines and laughs at his own jokes, then they found the right guy.

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  • 2 months later...
Jay Leno will seamlessly hand “The Tonight Show” baton to Conan O’Brien next summer.

After that, it’s still anyone’s guess whether Leno will decide to stay at the Peacock. NBC execs told reporters Monday — as well as Leno, disguised as a TV critic — that they’re not ready to lose him to ABC.

“We can’t force him to do something,” said NBC Entertainment/Universal Media Studios co-chair Marc Graboff. “Our goal is to work with him and come up with an alternative than telling jokes in latenight at 11:30. We believe there’s room on a regular basis for him to be on our air.”

Graboff admitted that the Peacock knew that Leno wasn’t happy with having to depart “Tonight,” which continues to dominate latenight ratings.

Leno has recently provided plenty of hints on air and in interviews that he’s less than pleased with having to go. He recently joked on-air about a move to ABC, and he told USA Today, “I am definitely done this year — with NBC.”

For anyone still wondering whether NBC would go through with the transition, Peacock announced an official date for Leno’s departure: Friday, May 29. O’Brien will take over on Monday, June 1.

“We made our decision, and we’re happy with it,” Graboff said. “We’re confident ‘The Tonight Show’ will continue to be dominant in its time period.”

Despite the rampant talk that he’s ready to bolt the Peacock, Leno himself — made up in a bald cap and fake goatee to look like a middle-aged reporter — played good sport and showed up to the TV Critics Assn. press tour, asking the first question during Graboff and fellow co-chairman Ben Silverman’s Q&A with reporters.

It took some critics a while to catch on that the “reporter” asking about Leno’s contract was actually Leno himself. Leno asked the NBC honchos about what would happen if the host had a change of heart.

“Everyone’s entitled to change their mind,” Silverman said. “But that puts management in an impossible situation.”

Still in disguise, Leno also asked if it were true that he was offered the fifth hour of “Today” — a joke — and if he’d be paid through the end of 2009 — which is true.

That also means that Leno, should he depart the Peacock, wouldn’t be available to join ABC or any other outlet until the start of 2010.

Graboff said Leno showed up in an attempt to remind everyone that he played a role in the transition plan (first announced four years ago) and that he’s “not bitter.”

“He wants to make it as smooth a transition as possible,” Graboff said. “He doesn’t want Conan to go through what he went through in 1992.

“We’ll respect Jay to the end; he’s a class act. We’ll do whatever we can and whatever he wants.”

NBC also elaborated on its transitional plans for “Late Night.” As mentioned by exec producer Lorne Michaels on Sunday, new host Jimmy Fallon will begin testing the show online toward the end of this year. Current host O’Brien will exit at the start of 2009 in order to prep for “Tonight”; reruns will air until Fallon goes live sometime in the spring.

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