Jay Leno to leave Tonight Show after 22 years of hosting

FP Staff

Apr 04, 2013 09:28:13 IST

Jay Leno, longtime host of NBC’s “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” announced that he will wrap up what will be 22 years of headlining the iconic late-night show in Spring 2014.

NBC announced that Jimmy Fallon, now host of NBC’s “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon", would take over hosting the show. It added that "programming plans for the 12:35 a.m. (ET) time period currently are in development and will be announced soon"

 Jay Leno to leave Tonight Show after 22 years of hosting

The old and the new: Jay Leno and Jimmy Fallon at the Golden Globe Awards earlier this year - Reuters

A release from the channel quoted both hosts as follows:

Said Leno: “Congratulations Jimmy. 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.”

Said Fallon: “I’m really excited to host a show that starts today instead of tomorrow.”

“Jay Leno is an entertainment icon, making millions of people laugh every weeknight for more than 20 years,” said Steve Burke, Chief Executive Officer of NBCUniversal. “His long reign as the highest-rated late-night host is a testament to his work ethic and dedication to his viewers and to NBC.

“We are purposefully making this change when Jay is #1, just as Jay replaced Johnny Carson when he was #1. Jimmy Fallon is a unique talent and this is his time. I’m thrilled he will become the sixth host of ‘The Tonight Show’ at exactly the right moment, in conjunction with our coverage of next year's Winter Olympic Games from Sochi, Russia.

Leno has hosted “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” since taking over the reins from television icon Johnny Carson in 1992 apart from a brief seven month stint by Conan O' Brien.

However as this media site points out, the press release came with its own share of controversy as it seems to have completely ignored O' Briens time hosting the show, eliciting a number of outraged reactions on Twitter.

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Updated Date: Apr 04, 2013 09:28:15 IST