NBC has "made a commitment" to Fallon to take over the coveted hosting gig, The New York Times reported Wednesday. The move also would mark the return of the legendary show to New York City for the first time in more than 40 years, according to the report.
Both transitions are expected to be finalized by the fall of 2014. But the network already is building a new "state-of-the-art" studio for Fallon, regardless of what happens between now and then, according to The Times.
A "Saturday Night Live" alumnus and graduate of Saugerties High School in Ulster County, Fallon recently taped his 800th episode of "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon." Other than a seven-month stint in which Conan O'Brien hosted "The Tonight Show," Leno, a New Rochelle native, has hosted that show since 1992.
"Late Night" show runner Michael Shoemaker is a Westchester County resident and an Emmy-winning "SNL" writer-producer who spent more than 20 years there before helming Fallon's current show.
It has been quite a run for Fallon, who launched his late-night show soon after O'Brien's 2010 departure. Although his initial interviews were a bit stilted -- booking the notoriously terse and pithy Robert De Niro as the first guest didn't help -- the show has thrived over time. Goofy bits ("Head Swap," "Let Us Play with Your Look"), games with guests ("Password," charades, beer pong) and the weekly Thank You Notes segment have resulted in true buoyancy.
In the past year, Fallon won a Creative Arts Emmy for hosting "SNL," and he earned a Grammy Award for his late-night show's comedy album, "Blow Your Pants Off."