It's official! Jay Leno will be ending his run as host of The Tonight Show and Jimmy Fallon will be replacing him. NBC confirmed reports of the switch in a statement Wednesday, April 3 saying Leno will end his 22-year run on the show in Spring 2014. Fallon, who is currently host of Late Night, will then transition over.
"Jay Leno is an entertainment icon, making millions of people laugh every weeknight for more than 20 years. His long reign as the highest-rated late-night host is a testament to his work ethic and dedication to his viewers and to NBC," said Steve Burke, Chief Executive Officer of NBC Universal. "We are purposefully making this change when Jay is no. 1, just as Jay replaced Johnny Carson when he was no. 1."
"Jimmy Fallon is a unique talent and this is his time," he continued. "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."
And there doesn't seem to be any hard feelings between the two hosts. Leno, 62, and Fallon, 38, who addressed rumors of the replacement in a funny musical duet of West Side Story's "Tonight" on Monday, both issued friendly statements Wednesday regarding the official announcement.
"Congratulations Jimmy. I hope you're as lucky as me and hold on to the job until you're the old guy," Leno, who took over the show from Carson in 1992, said. "If you need me, I'll be at the garage," added the car enthusiast.
Fallon joked of his new time slot, "I'm really excited to host a show that starts today instead of tomorrow."
What will happen to Fallon's Late Night show at 12:35 a.m.? NBC says plans are "currently in development and will be announced soon."