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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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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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MR ajoredpeg February 08 2014 at 9:12 PM

thegroxt1 youtube

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Donna February 08 2014 at 3:03 PM

Why should he get emotional. He just got a promotion..Our family will miss you Jay Leno. We'll get a little more sleep now.

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mae13rle11 February 08 2014 at 10:51 PM

Silly arguments all........ All the talk shows are taped during the day. What time they slot you in to determines how much revenue the show generates and how much the star gets paid. Ratings will then determine how much the network can charge the advertisers. Doesn't matter much if most of us are DVR ing it anyway. You ever watch Letterman - almost half the entire hour is commercials! DVR your favorite and watch it in your kitchen next morning, sans commercials. Thanks Jay, go have fun and enjoy those cool cars of yours. Life is way to short !!

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John Wright February 08 2014 at 11:35 AM

I will not be watching this train wreck.

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xraybrain February 08 2014 at 11:35 AM

nobody will ever really fill Johnny Carson's shoes but I believe Leno came the closest

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1 reply
herbnjosie xraybrain February 08 2014 at 12:00 PM

I think that you are right. Fallon will never be the "Tonight Show" host, has Johnny or Jay. At least Jay made fun of both party of this government. Fallon will not be so candid about the republican.

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therealkatsmell February 08 2014 at 11:33 AM

his slapstick worked on snl.... the tonight show ....is the goodnight show.

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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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gjohnso627 February 08 2014 at 11:23 AM

He was good on snl but cant shine a light on Leno. He is not late night material no matter what they do to place him on a pedestal. Lacks luster and it will be known very shortly. Wont watch him no matter who is his guest. He will rely on guest to pull him through but at some point he will have to show creativity and a sense of humor which he lacks.

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1 reply
deebeedonny gjohnso627 February 08 2014 at 11:52 AM

I think he can certainly shine a light on Leno. Leno admits that he can't do some things like Jimmy Fallon does. Leno can't sing, dance, do imitations, etc. etc., Some nights Leno was funny, then some nights it appeared he was trying to be funny and making jokes as he went along that didn't fare too well. ...And, i always thought Leno relied on his guests to pull the show through......Many felt that Leno was not late night matierial. The truth, Johnny Carson highly recommended Dave Letterman to be his successor. He strongly suggested to the NBC execs that Letterman is the right man for the job. Letterman's late night show immediately folled the Carson Show and it seemed fitting that Letterman take over carson seat. But, two execs at NBC, one in particular were against Letterman taking over, then later questioned themselves if they made the right decision or not....So, Leno gets the job and on the first night he tookover, his female manager insisited that Leno doesn't pay tribute to Johnny Carson. She said it is now the Leno show.... Leno made a fortune, one of the highest paid entertainers in televsion history. The NBC execs may have been looking for a younger, fresher, more creative person for the show. They tried "twice" the first time with Conan, shich didn't work out, only for Conan who walked away with millions. no one can fill Johnny Carsons shoes, but I think Fallon is the one who comes closest to it....Luck and Success Jimmy, I think you're in it for the long haul.....

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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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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

exactly

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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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