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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.

Join the discussion

1000|Char. 1000  Char.
midnightstalker2000 February 08 2014 at 9:41 AM

Let's all check back at the beginning of May to see how much the ratings of The Tonight Show have plummeted since they canned Jay Leno. Let's see if NBC is kicking them self for letting him go.

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cbcelmayster February 08 2014 at 4:19 PM

I am sure Letterman is happy, now that he doesnt need to compete with Jay. NBC is going after the 18-35 viewers..wonder what the advertisers will think when they lose 1/2 their ratings.. NBC screws their own pooch again.. that is why they rank last....

I hope Jay goes to FOX, TNT or one of the others and kills Fallon. Nothing against him but ....

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1 reply
ppaxteny cbcelmayster February 08 2014 at 4:50 PM

FOX cancelling X FACTOR -- could be 1st step in bringing back Jay Leno. NBC is making lots of stupid decisions which is why they do so poorly.

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Oyster February 08 2014 at 4:57 PM

Mr. Fallon appears to be a genuinely nice person and musically talented. But, why would NBC decide to dump Mr. Leno when he still had the #1 rating for his time slot? Apparently NBC loves to discriminate based upon age - no?, what else is it?

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3 replies
sondravvag February 08 2014 at 12:20 PM

He has a hard act to follow, but I think he will do fine. Jay Leno will be truly missed, so was Johnny Carson but I guess NBC was looking for a younger guy. Good luck Jimmy Fallon. Thank you for the many years of good talk and laughter Jay Leno!

I was a kid when Jack Parr and Steve Allen started this whole thing of night time talk shows and each of them had something to bring to audiences for enjoyment and "passing the time." It is nice to go to bed with laughter on your mind rather than all the horrible news things presented to one. Interesting that there have been no females that have made it.

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2 replies
June sondravvag February 08 2014 at 12:39 PM

That is so true... But our day is coming!

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Fayblac sondravvag February 08 2014 at 12:57 PM

Good point!

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ajoredpeg February 08 2014 at 8:40 PM

I remember when the Tonight show was 90 minutes when Steve Allan, Jack Parr and Carson were hosts. This was before the program was ruined with too many commercials and was shortened to an hour. Years ago people who were guests actually came on and had something interesting to discuss. It wasn't all just celebrities promoting theie next movie or sombody talking about their next book. I do not watch late nitght TV it's boring. As far as I am conserned commercials have ruined television. There has always been commercials, but today television exists solely for the commercials.

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1 reply
MR ajoredpeg February 08 2014 at 9:12 PM

thegroxt1 youtube

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Jaco Ricardo February 08 2014 at 8:44 PM

I wish i could see him but we dont get NBC in Costa Rica anymore me no happy. Richard e Moore

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1 reply
MR Jaco Ricardo February 08 2014 at 9:11 PM

thegroxt1 youtube

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petervanni February 08 2014 at 3:56 PM

I like Fallon, he's very talented, but I loved watching Jay Leno every night, I'll miss him. I'll be getting more sleep from now on.

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1 reply
cbcelmayster petervanni February 08 2014 at 4:29 PM

As will many others.. All they have done is give the same viewers and earlier bed time themselves, and lost the 12:30 crowd who will either go elsewhere or get more sleep too..

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Alan February 08 2014 at 9:53 AM

Last Thursday was the last time I will watch the Tonight Show. I am old enough to remember Parr and Allen as well as Johnny Carson. Johnny was hands down the best! His timing and wit were awesome. Jay Leno was a "clean" comic, no swearing just good jokes. Fallon is not an interviewer, he relies on games and slapstick comedy to get by, that is not a host of a talk show, that is a clown.

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1 reply
mjp88keys Alan February 08 2014 at 10:01 AM

I totally agree. Actually it makes me mad. Jay Leno was NOT low in the ratings...from what I hear...he was still NUMBER....ONE....and they can him..for again.. a younger person. Well who was watching that made him Number One... I for one was one of the "watchers". Jay Leno was a steady thing that you just watched...he didn't have to do slap stick,...he did what he does...and got Number One rating. ...and the "higher UPs"...can him?
Jimmy Fallon belongs in the slot he is currently at. Put Jay Leno back...if something is working...DON'T FIX IT...it has nothing to do with ..."getting older"...it is just COMMON SENSE...if ratings were going down...ok..I see it...but POOF....gone. Stupid.

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1 reply
kaysarasara22 mjp88keys February 08 2014 at 7:46 PM


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Larry February 08 2014 at 12:45 PM

put on carson reruns>> better choice

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1 reply
Anthony Mancini Larry February 09 2014 at 2:05 AM

You are sooooooooooo right. They should put on carson reruns for a test period and see how they do.

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drtdgrphil February 08 2014 at 9:56 AM

Im just glad it wasnt that Conan Obrian he was terable and Ugly I just shut off the T V when he was on no one can replace Johnnie Carson

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