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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

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gigi1105 February 08 2014 at 11:17 AM

o god!!!! snl every week night!!! can't stand this little dweeb!!! no wonder abc sucks, the only thing i enjoyed on this network was leno, now i can flush this whole tub of junk along with the ever disgusting al roker, matt and savannah!!!!

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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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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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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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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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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

exactly

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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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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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jotole February 08 2014 at 12:53 PM

I think it's a shame that Jay Leno was 'asked' to leave The Tonight Show. He was great!! Isn't this sort of like 'age discrimination?' I'll not watch the new show ...

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1 reply
Fayblac jotole February 08 2014 at 12:55 PM

Good point!

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dt2211 February 08 2014 at 1:25 PM

Jimmy - Great guy on SNL and he did the late night in fine style. 11:30 taking over for Jay?
Tough mountain to climb. "I may fall and can't get back up" !!!

NBC - Call Leno back in 3-6 months.

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