Current “Tonight” host Jay Leno‘s contract expires in September 2014, and most reports have pegged that as the time Fallon would take over. According to The Hollywood Reporter, though, some at the network are pushing for Fallon to take over “Tonight” as early as February, when he could have the promotional platform of the Winter Olympics.
Lorne Michaels, who produces “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” is not one of those people. He’s advocating for a less rushed timetable, which presumably would also allow for a longer time to groom whoever takes over “Late Night” — THR says “Saturday Night Live” cast member and head writer Seth Meyers is one possibility.
Leno, meanwhile, continues to mock NBC and its ratings struggles in his opening monologue. Wednesday (March 20), he joked about a report that scientists are getting close to cloning extinct species, a la “Jurassic Park.” “Imagine that — things that were once thought to be extinct could bow be brought back from the dead,” he said. “So there’s hope for NBC. It could turn around.”
Fallon also acknowledged the talk of him taking over “The Tonight Show” on Wednesday, the first time he’s done so. “Before we get started, I have to talk about the rumors that came out today which say that I’ll be moving up to 11:30,” he said at the beginning of his monologue. “Or as my parents call it, ‘Eh, still too late.’
“Actually, the rumors are true — NBC is turning ‘The Tonight Show’ into a diving competition.”
A formal announcement of Fallon taking over “The Tonight Show” is expected to come at NBC’s upfront in May.