Los Angeles, April 4 (IANS/EFE) Jay Leno will leave his job headlining "The Tonight Show" and will be replaced next spring by Jimmy Fallon, currently hosting "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon," NBC said on Wednesday.
Leno is thus closing out a 22-year stretch hosting the iconic talk and entertainment show for nightowls. In addition, the program will change its its studio location from Los Angeles to New York, the city where it was born, and will be overseen by Lorne Michaels of "Saturday Night Live".
"Congratulations, Jimmy. I hope you're as lucky as me and hold on to the job until you're an old guy. If you need me, I'll be at the garage," Leno, 62, said.
"I'm really excited to host a show that starts today instead of tomorrow," the 38-year-old Fallon joked, an allusion to his current show's post-midnight viewing slot.
Leno has hosted "The Tonight Show" since he took over the reins from the legendary Johnny Carson in 1992.
The show has been the time-slot leader among viewers in the 18-49 age bracket since Leno's return in March 2010 and during the 14 seasons prior to his temporary absence in May 2009.
Leno took a brief hiatus from his hosting duties in the autumn of 2009 with his move to primetime with the "Jay Leno Show", and Conan O'Brien took over "The Tonight Show", a network shuffle that did not produce good results.
"Jimmy Fallon is a unique talent and this is his time," NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke said. "I'm thrilled he will become the sixth host of 'The Tonight Show'."