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Fallon exits 'Late Night, ' headed for 'Tonight'

TV Fallon's Break

NEW YORK (AP) - It's not so much "goodbye" as "on break."

With Jimmy Fallon's departure from "Late Night" on Friday after five years in the host chair, he will be off the NBC airwaves a scant 10 days before coming back as host of "The Tonight Show," which was vacated Thursday by Jay Leno after 22 years.

"I'm really going to miss being on TV at 12:37," Fallon joked in his farewell monologue, noting that his "fierce rivals" have been CBS host Craig Ferguson "and a Veggie-Chopper infomercial."

But if he was overjoyed at his promotion to a slot one hour earlier - and he radiated joy all through the finale (taped Friday afternoon) - at the same time he could hardly keep his tear ducts in check.

"I'm not gonna cry," he vowed early on, "but I'm gonna get really close."

"You got to pull it together," teased his guest, fellow "Saturday Night Live" alum Andy Samberg. "You got to man up."

"'Irish Wuss' was my nickname in high school," replied Fallon.

The 39-year-old Fallon has promised that nothing much will change with his talk-comedy-music formula, except the new time slot and "Tonight Show" title.

But if it's not so big a change for Fallon (or his house band, the Roots, or his announcer, Steve Higgins, who all are coming along), it's a big change for "Tonight," which is returning to New York's Rockefeller Plaza after more than 40 years in Los Angeles, and returning to NBC's Studio 6B, once the home of "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson."

To complete this game of musical chairs, Seth Meyers (another "SNL" grad) becomes "Late Night" host starting Feb. 24.

"We're gonna be a great team back-to-back," Fallon said.

During his monologue, Fallon got nostalgic, with a dash of comedy. Since premiering in March 2009, he spun out 10,000 jokes, he announced, all of which he proceeded to sum up as: "Joe Biden needed Obamacare after Anthony Weiner texted Justin Bieber a picture of Chris Christie dating a Kardashian on the Jersey shore with Rob Ford."

More sincerely, Fallon voiced thanks to David Letterman for starting "Late Night," and to Conan O'Brien, its second host, as well as to his viewers, whose support "means the world to me. It makes me so happy."

The hour ended with a big musical number: Fallon on drums and singing the Band classic "The Weight," accompanied by a large ensemble of Muppets.

Then he made his exit from his longtime "Late Night" home, Studio 6A, and strode a few steps down a hallway to his soon-to-be new home. He opened the door to Studio 6B to find a cheering, welcoming throng. Fade out.

It's awaiting him for real in just 10 days.

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bpalopinto February 10 2014 at 7:53 AM

His show will bust, New York sucks.

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kenmac7 February 10 2014 at 6:05 AM

Fallon has a good gig with Late Night. He should have told NBC to stick it and that he would continue to roll his dice with the Late Night show rather than risk becoming another Conan. If the ratings for the Tonight show tank after Fallon takes over, his career will take a BIG nose dive.

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Bud V. Jean February 10 2014 at 4:34 AM

Hi Jimmy I know you will do a great Job and we are looking forward in watching you. We love how you interact with your band, audience, and guest, and Higgins. Your show is always different every night so we watch it because we never know what to expect. Heep up the good work Jimmy we are so proud of you.

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gdmn2find February 10 2014 at 2:01 AM

And how come you don't publish Fallons numbers for HIS last night on the show he is leaving? Maybe not as good as Lenos? Which is also not surprising.

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a73yobroad February 09 2014 at 10:48 PM

HE IS A JACK ASS AND HIS SHOW SUCKS.

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oldbiker February 09 2014 at 10:30 PM

It might be interesting to know what the age level is for the following of this kid. I'm sure he's a fine young man but as an older man I wouldn't walk across the street to see him. Just typical of what's happening to the entertainment business. The actors stink, the music (music???) is crap and other than Louie CK the comedians aren't funny! Soooo-Good Luck!

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gerbersmail February 09 2014 at 8:34 PM

You're going to miss more than your old show Jimmy. You're going to miss being on TV when NBC cancels and replaces you when your Tonight Show ratings plummet! You're no smarter than the idiots at NBC that made this decision in the first place. You think you both would have learned a lesson from the last time they tried to fill Jay Leno's shoes with Conan. Especially when Conan has more followers than you.

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Richard February 09 2014 at 9:30 PM

Conan's humor was subtle and geared towards a more intelligent audience. Considering how dumbed down the younger generation has become, it's no wonder they pulled him.

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wingnut February 09 2014 at 8:03 PM

Seth Myers would have been a better choice.

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Richard February 09 2014 at 7:59 PM

Fallon is a lockstep corporate butt licker. He is neither funny nor engaging. The perfect replacement in a cold business first world.

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patty2159 February 09 2014 at 7:16 PM

Jimmy's duet with Bruce Springsteen is brilliant...and that comes from someone who grew up down the street and around the corner from Bruce (same high school too). I loved it, I think everybody loved it as it hit the news casts the next day. I love Jay and will follow him to his next adventure(s)...but I have no doubt that Jimmy will do well with The Tonight Show, especially if he does a skit now and then that brings Johnny back to those who grew up watching him. Can't you just see Jimmy sitting there "reading" the index cards thru his turbin? It would be priceless as I know he can pull it off....just like he did with Bruce, priceless, absolutely priceless. For those who didn't see it, go to YouTube and search Jimmy Bruce Bridge Song...I promise, you'll love it! :-D

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