The New York Times is reporting NBC has been working on a “state-of-the-art” new studio for Fallon in NBC’s New York headquarters at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, which is being viewed as the new home of “Tonight.”
“The Tonight Show” has been taped in Burbank, California ever since Johnny Carson moved the show there in 1972, but began as a New York institution under the leadership of original hosts Steve Allen, Jack Paar and a decade with Carson.
The idea that NBC would consider relocating “Tonight” to New York is particularly significant in light of the disastrous attempt to give Leno a primetime show and make Conan O’Brien the “Tonight” host in 2009. At that time, NBC insisted that New York-based O’Brien move to Hollywood to host the ill-fated show.
There is no official timetable for the latest “Tonight” transition but Leno’s contract is up in fall 2014, so the shift is expected to happen by that point. NBC executives are said to be eager to lock Fallon into place now that ABC has moved “Jimmy Kimmel Live” to the 11:30 p.m. timeslot opposite “Tonight” and CBS’ “Late Show with David Letterman.”
What sort of changes may result with Fallon’s current show, “Late Night,” in terms of host and location are not yet known.
For his part, Leno has recently been taking pointed jabs at his network for its poor ratings performance in primetime, leading to a reported e-mail feud with NBC president Robert Greenblatt. However, even with increased competition from “Kimmel,” Leno’s “Tonight Show” continues to be late night’s most-watched show and frequently wins the adults 18-49 demo battle.