The "Tonight" show is likely moving back to the city that launched it, while "Late Night" host Jimmy Fallon appears to be getting a promotion. Both Fallon and "Tonight" show incumbent Jay Leno joked about the move in their monologues last night, with Fallon skirting the issue and Leno tossing yet another barb at his bosses.
"I have to talk about the rumors that came out today that we'll be moving up to 11:30, or as my parents call it, 'Eh, still too late,'" Fallon said on last night's program. "Actually the rumors are true. NBC is turning the 'Tonight' show into a diving competition."
Concern over ABC bumping Jimmy Kimmel up to the 11:35 p.m. slot, along with the possibility of CBS host David Letterman retiring soon, has caused NBC to consider reshuffling its lineup to compete in the looming battle for younger viewers, reports the New York Times.
Earlier this month, speculation begin swirling that "Tonight" host Leno was on his way out for the second time in four years. The longtime star responded by taking public jabs at NBC executives this week. Now, the Times is reporting that the network has "quietly begun work on a new studio in its headquarters building at 30 Rockefeller Plaza as the home for the new 'Tonight' show," the same New York City building where Steve Allen, Jack Paar, and Johnny Carson shepherded the program to its current heavyweight status before Carson moved it to California in 1972.
Fallon, who took over "Late Night" during NBC's disastrous attempt at moving then-host Conan O'Brien to the helm of the "Tonight" show in 2009, has a marked edge over Leno in younger viewers, a demographic which Leno reportedly struggles to match Kimmel in luring. Fallon is expected to inherit Leno's hosting gig by fall 2014 at the latest, according to the Times.
In the March 26 issue of GQ, Fallon carefully avoids the whole debate, saying, "It would be great, sure, I guess. Iíd love it, but itís not on my mind. Iím in no rush to do anything ... Iím not in a fight with Jay or Conan, or any of them. I donít have that story."
What do you think? Would you like to see Fallon succeed Leno? Is it too soon? What other options does NBC have? Are you excited "Tonight" is returning to New York City? Tell us in the comments.
About Viewer Discretion
ContributorsMatthew Gilbert is the Globe's TV critic.
Sarah Rodman is a staff TV and music critic for the Boston Globe.
Michael Brodeur is the assistant arts editor for the Boston Globe, covering pop music, TV, and nightlife.
Katie McLeod is Boston.com's features editor.
Rachel Raczka is a producer for Lifestyle and Arts & Entertainment at Boston.com.
Emily Wright is an Arts & Entertainment producer at Boston.com.