‘Tonight Show’: Jimmy Fallon Talks Transition, Reveals First Guests

Jay Leno - Jimmy Fallon

Tonight Show logoJimmy Fallon knew all along!

Despite playing coy for the past four years, the SNL alum had what one NBC insider tells me was an “unspoken understanding” with the network that he would eventually take over THE TONIGHT SHOW.

Jimmy spilled the beans during a chat with reporters today in Pasadena, Calif.

And the way he tells the story, it almost sounds like Jay Leno himself chose him to be his successor at 11:35.

“When after the whole Conan-Jay thing went down [in 2010], I was following Jay,” he recalled.  “He was back at 11:30. I called up Jay, and I said, ‘Hey, I just want to let you know that I’m not gunning for your position at all. I’m very happy at 12:37 a.m., or whenever they put me on.”


“No one doesn’t seem to bother me. I’m here. I’m in New York. I’m trying to have a baby. I’m very happy at my job. I’m just not gunning for this. I’m very happy here.”

“So he goes, ‘I appreciate that.” I said, ‘And when eventually you decide to step down, let’s do it the right way.’ And he said, ‘Yeah, of course.’ You just felt it was different from then on. We talk to each other every couple weeks, he’s always giving me advice, all the way up ’til now. He called me and said, ‘I think this is going to be the year,’ and I said, ‘All right.’ And he goes, ‘I’d love for you to be the next guy. I think you’re going to be great.’

Jimmy Fallon takes over the most storied of all late night shows on Feb 17.

He has promised basically the same show as he has been doing at 12:35 — with a longer monologue.

“I don’t feel like I have to win over [anyone],” he said of Leno’s longtime viewers. “I am who I am. You can see my work.”

Jimmy’s first guests will be Will Smith and U2.

Will you be watching?  Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Sean Daly

Sean Daly

Editor-In-Chief at TheTVPage.com
Sean Daly is a veteran entertainment journalist.His work has appeared in People, Us Weekly, The Toronto Star and other top publications. He was the west coast TV reporter for The New York Post from 2008 - 2013. Sean is the author of Inside AGT: The Untold Stories of America's Got Talent and Teen Mom Confidential: Secrets and Scandals From MTV's Most Controversial Shows.
Sean Daly