Update: Jay Leno has confirmed with The New York Times that he will indeed hand The Tonight Show to Jimmy Fallon next spring during the end of the coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympics. We will update as more information is available.
Original Text: According to The Hollywood Reporter, Jimmy Fallon signed a deal to inherit the hosting gig on NBC’s The Tonight Show.
The heavilyspeculated position was expected to become available when Jay Leno’s contract expires in September 2014. With Fallon as his replacement, NBC is rumored to move The Tonight Show back to New York in 30 Rockefeller Center. NBC executives reportedly want to start Fallon’s Tonight Show next February in order to feed off the network’s Winter Olympics coverage. If this is the case, NBC would be required to pay Leno a hefty fee if Fallon starts before Leno’s contract expires. Well, they’ve done it before.
THR also lists Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update anchor Seth Meyers as the frontrunner to take over Fallon’s job at Late Night. “It will be Seth unless something goes awry [in the dealmaking,]” THR’s source explained.
Currently in his 11th season at the long-running sketch comedy series, Meyers became head writer for SNL in 2006 following the departure of Tina Fey. The Lorne Michaels protégé also hosted the ESPY Awards in 2010 and served as the keynote speaker for the White House Correspondents Association Dinner in 2011.
NBC has not given an official statement about this situation, but Leno and Fallon have both joked about the rumors on their respective shows and even made light of it.