The transferring of the show from host-to-host has been a troubling process since Johnny Carson left The Tonight Show in 1992. Jay Leno usurped David Letterman, the then host of Late Night, to take over the helm which created a long-standing rift between the two comedians. In 2005, Jay Leno made an on-air promise to hand the show over to Conan O’Brien in 2009, the hand over seemed to go off without a hitch. Then Leno made it known he never wanted to leave Tonight, and pressured execs into giving him his old job.
In 2010, Jimmy Fallon said on an episode of Late Night:
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from Dave and Conan, it’s that hosting this show is a one-way ticket to not hosting the ‘Tonight Show
Here’s what you need to know…
1. Some Details Remain to be Worked Out but the Change Will Happen
The executives charged with making the decision have agreed that Fallon is the man to take the show forward.
2. NBC Will Move the Show Back to New York
NBC will move the show from Burbank studios in Los Angeles back to 30 Rockefeller Plaza. The network has already begun constructing a new studio for the switch. The show began at 30 Rock under Steve Allen in 1954. The show moved out west in 1972 when then-host Johnny Carson wanted to make it easier for the show to get A-list guests.
3. The Exact Date Has Not Been Confirmed but it Will Not be Later Than Fall 2014
Which at the very most would give Jay Leno one-more full season at the helm.
4. Conan Wanted to Keep the Show in New York in 2009
When Conan O’Brien was meant to take over The Tonight Show in 2009, he wanted it to return to New York but NBC said the show was to identifiable with Hollywood and wanted it to remain in LA. The move for Fallon indicates a switch in target audience for the legendary chat show.
5. Leno is Reportedly Hugely Unpopular with NBC Management Right Now
The Tonight Show host has been openly mocking NBC’s shocking performance in the ratings lately. The Hollywood Reporter says that NBC executive Robert Greenblatt has had angry exchanges with Leno over his content.
Leno has been making jokes such as:
Did you hear about this? A 28-year-old woman from Serbia has a rare brain condition where she sees everything upside down. The good news? She’s now been given a job at the White House as President Obama’s economic adviser.
Isn’t that crazy? It’s unbelievable. She sees everything upside down. In fact, she thinks NBC is at the top of the ratings.
You know the whole legend of St. Patrick, right? St. Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland — and then they came to the United States and became NBC executives. It’s a fascinating story.