Jimmy Fallon says NBC execs didn't want him as a late-night host at first

Jimmy Fallon has enjoyed years of ratings success since joining the late-night hosting game in 2008 when he took over Late Night. However, according to the host himself, it took some convincing to land the gig.

“NBC didn’t even want me. I remember them saying, 'Really, Jimmy Fallon? His movies are terrible,'” Fallon said at the New Yorker Festival on Monday night, via Vulture. “But Lorne [Michaels, creator of Saturday Night Live] was like, 'Don’t worry, he works well and plays well with others.' Like I was a kindergartner." 

“I remember having to go to three or four dinners with NBC, trying to convince them I was the guy,” he continued. “And then finally [president and CEO of NBC] Jeff Zucker was like, 'Are you sure? This is a lot of work.' I was like, 'Yes, I’m sure.'”

He also shared that after he convinced NBC to bring him on board, they wavered on allowing him to have The Roots as his house band.

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Jimmy Fallon through the years
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Jimmy Fallon through the years
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 0289 -- Pictured: Host Jimmy Fallon during the monologue on July 13, 2015 -- (Photo by: Douglas Gorenstein/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, UNITED STATES: Show hosts actress Kirsten Dunst (L) and her fiance Jimmy Fallon clown around with a prop at the 2001 MTV Movie Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, 02 June 2001. AFP PHOTO/Lucy Nicholson (Photo credit should read LUCY NICHOLSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Jimmy Fallon and Mary Louise Parker backstage at the MTV Rock & Comedy Concert at Battery Park in New York City, 5/10/02. The concert was staged as part of the first Tribeca Film Festival. Photo by Frank Micelotta/ImageDirect.
Comedian Jimmy Fallon perform at the MTV Tribeca Film Festival Rock and Comedy Concert in Battery Park in New York City. May 10, 2002. Photo by Frank Micelotta/ImageDirect
Jimmy Fallon jokes with and dresses identical to host Carson Daly on TRL at the MTV Studios in New York City. Jimmy will be hosting this years Video Music Awards live from Radio City Music Hall on August 29th. 8/14/02 Photo by Scott Gries/ImageDirect
NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 10: Actors Jimmy Fallon and Maya Rudolph attend attends the Marc Jacobs Fall/Winter 2003 Collection fashion show at the 26th Street Armory during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week February 10, 2003 in New York City. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 23: (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER OUT, U.S. TABS OUT) Jimmy Fallon arrives at the BMG Post-Grammy Gala to celebrate the 45th Annual Grammy Awards at Gotham Hall February 23, 2003. (Photo by Mark Mainz/Getty Images)
HOUSTON - FEBRUARY 1: Actor Jimmy Fallon poses during the MTV TRL Super Bowl edition at Reliant Park in Houston, Texas, February 1, 2004. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Getty Images)
CULVER CITY, CA - JUNE 5: (U.S. TABLOIDS OUT) (L-R) Actor Jimmy Fallon and actress/singer Queen Latifah laugh backstage at the 2004 MTV Movie Awards at the Sony Pictures Studios on June 5, 2004 in Culver City, California. The 2004 MTV Movie Awards will air on the MTV Network June 10, 2004 9 PM (ET/PT). (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD - DECEMBER 8: Actor Jimmy Fallon arrives at the Warner Bros. premiere of the film 'Ocean's Twelve' at Grauman's Chinese Theatre December 8, 2004 in Hollywood California. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images)
Actors Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon make an appearance on MTV's Total Request Live on April 5, 2005 in New York City. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images)
Producer Nancy Juvonen (L) and actor Jimmy Fallon arrive for the premier of the film 'Music and Lyrics' in Los Angeles, California, 07 February 2007. (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - JUNE 04: Actor Jimmy Fallon attends Columbia Pictures' screening of 'You Don't Mess With The Zohan' on June 4, 2008 at the Ziegfeld Theater in New York City. (Photo by Rob Loud/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 29: Host Jimmy Fallon speaks onstage at the 62nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards held at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on August 29, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 28: TV personality Jimmy Fallon attends the Museum of the Moving Image salute to Alec Baldwin at Cipriani 42nd Street on February 28, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Season: 1 -- Pictured: Host Jimmy Fallon -- (Photo by: James White/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 0001 -- Pictured: Host Jimmy Fallon on February 17, 2014 -- (Photo by: Lloyd Bishop/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
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“NBC didn’t want the Roots. They were like, 'The Roots are too urban or something,'” Fallon remembered. “I went, you’re totally wrong. Do you know these guys? Go see them. Have you seen them? These guys have played with everyone from JAY-Z to Tony Bennett. There’s no band that exists like them at all.”

Obviously, the 44-year-old comedian got his way -- as well as later being named host of the Tonight Show in 2014 -- clearing the way for countless unforgettable TV moments.

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