'Tonight Show' to officially return to NYC with Fallon in 2014: NBC
TV's worst kept secret is finally official, as Jimmy Fallon will be the next host of "The Tonight Show," which is coming back to New York.
NBC confirmed Wednesday that Jay Leno will end his 22-year tenure as host and pass the torch to Fallon after the network wraps up its coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympics.
The network said the show wil return to New York, news that excited city and state leaders.
"It's the perfect symbol of incredible comeback we've worked to create in our city's film and television industry," Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
The new "Tonight Show" will have a new set at 30 Rock. Leno, 62, and Fallon, 38, joked on their shows about speculation of their respective futures, and continued the wisecracks Wednesday in their statements about the announcement.
"I'm really excited to host a show that starts today instead of tomorrow," Fallon said.
"Congratulations Jimmy. I hope you're as lucky as me and hold on to the job until you're the old guy. If you need me, I'll be at the garage," Leno said.
NBC wouldn't say who will replace Fallon as the host of "Late Night," but there has been speculation the job will go to his fellow "Saturday Night Live" cast member Seth Myers.
The "Tonight Show" originally filmed in New York until 1972, when Johnny Carson relocated to Burbank, Calif. Bloomberg said it was natural for the show to come back to Gotham because its TV and film industry has been booming over the last decade.
There are 130,000 New Yorkers who work on TV productions, a 30% jump from 10 years ago, according to the mayor.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is planning to extend the state's 30% tax credit for productions that includes a stipulation for major talk shows.
"The original 'Tonight Show' ushered in the modern era of television, broadcast here from New York. It is only fitting that as 'The Tonight Show' returns to our state, it will be headlined by New York's own native son and resident, Jimmy Fallon," Cuomo said.
NBC also said Wednesday that "America's Got Talent" will shoot next season at Radio City Music Hall.
Leno initially stepped down from "The Tonight Show" in 2009 and handed it over to Conan O'Brien, who relocated his entire staff to the West Coast. NBC then created a 10 p.m. variety show with Leno as its host.
The programming experiment only lasted eight months as the network fired Conan and reinstituted Leno.