Jimmy Fallon could soon be getting a promotion, as rumors are circulating that he could take over Tonight Show hosting duties from Jay Leno in 2014.
The New York Daily News reported that some NBC executives are starting to explore the option of having Fallon take over at the Tonight Show once Leno’s contract expires in 2014.
The Jimmy Fallon rumor revives memories of the drama that ensued in 2009 when Conan O’Brien took over hosting duties at the Tonight Show, but was booted from his position after only seven months when Leno’s primetime talk show failed.
As The Huffington Post noted, this would actually be the third time that Jay Leno’s position at the Tonight Show would be threatened. In 1993 he was in a battle with former friend David Letterman to become the successor to Johnny Carson. NBC passed on Letterman, who was seen as the successor to Carson.
When asked about his intentions to take over the Tonight Show in the past, Fallon has seemed wary.
“If there’s one thing I’ve learned from Dave and Conan, it’s that hosting this show is a one-way ticket to not hosting ‘The Tonight Show,’” Fallon joked.
Letterman left NBC soon after the snub, and the network gave his Late Night slot to Conan O’Brien instead.
If Jimmy Fallon were to take over the Tonight Show from Jay Leno, it would signal an attempt to reach a younger audience, The Huffington Post noted. The 38-year-old Fallon has a more mainstream personality and his show has gained a faithful audience and quite a bit of buzz for its song parodies, celebrity impersonations, and a strong music component with house band The Roots.