Jimmy Fallon will replace Jay Leno as host of The Tonight Show on NBC in 2014.
It ends speculation about the coveted late night show manoeuvres.
Of course this is not the first time NBC has announced a plan to replace Leno.
In 2009, Conan O’Brien became host, but after ratings slipped a deal was done to return Leno and Conan headed off to TBS (where he has just been renewed). Needless to say, that’s already lead to late-night gags from CBS’s David Letterman about Leno.
The Tonight Show will also relocate to New York City when Fallon takes over.
NBC is making the move because it thinks Fallon will do better with younger viewers in the years to come.
As the LA Times notes, although Leno still delivers solid ratings, he is not the force he once was. ABC this year moved its late night show Jimmy Kimmel Live from after midnight to 11:30 p.m. and it has started to attract a younger audience.
“We are purposefully making this change when Jay is No. 1, just as Jay replaced Johnny Carson when he was No. 1,” said NBCUniversal Chief Executive Steve Burke. “Jimmy Fallon is a unique talent and this is his time.”
In a statement Leno congratulated Fallon and said, “I hope you’re as lucky as me and hold on to the job until you’re the old guy. If you need me, I’ll be at the garage.”
NBC did not say who would succeed Fallon. Some observers think Seth Meyers of Saturday Night Live is the front-runner. Late Night with Jimmy Fallon currently airs in Australia on the Comedy Channel, but no network screens Leno in Australia.
All up Leno will have hosted The Tonight Show for 22 years.