7:33pm PT by Kimberly Nordyke
Jimmy Kimmel Jokes About Being the New 'Tonight Show' Host
With two Jimmys set to occupy the 11:35 p.m. slot come spring 2014, it's understandable that Jimmy Kimmel could be confused about which show he'll be hosting.
"It is a big one for the world of late-night television," Kimmel said in his Wednesday monologue on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live! "As you probably heard -- it was announced officially today -- that, starting in February of next year -- after the Olympics -- I will take over as new host of The Tonight Show. I spoke to Jay on the phone today. … Excuse me for one moment. [confers with a staffer] OK. Ummm -- apparently it was a different Jimmy. Are you sure? Hold on."
"OK -- turns out, I will not be hosting The Tonight Show," he continued. "Does anyone know what the return policy is on yachts?"
The "Jimmy" who is taking over NBC's Tonight Show is, of course, Late Night host Jimmy Fallon, who will move from his 12:35 p.m. slot in spring 2014, after Jay Leno departs.
Leno, Fallon and David Letterman also made jokes in their Wednesday monologues about NBC's late-night shake-up, which was officially confirmed Wednesday, a month after The Hollywood Reporter revealed that the network was preparing an exit plan for Leno. THR reported Tuesday that Fallon had signed the Tonight deal and that Saturday Night Live stalwart Seth Meyers is being eyed as his Late Night replacement.
For his part, Leno praised Fallon.
"He is a hell of a guy! He's going to do a great job. I just have one request for Jimmy: We've all fought, kicked and scratched to get this network up to fifth place. Now we have to keep it there! Jimmy, don't let it slip into sixth! We are counting on you."
Meanwhile, Fallon thanked Leno for being "gracious" as well as his own staff. He also addressed the news in his monologue.
"Hello! Welcome! This is Late Night With Jimmy Fallon -- for now," he said. "You guys probably heard the news -- I’m going to be taking over The Tonight Show next February! But don't worry. Until February, our focus is right here on whatever this show is called."
David Letterman also made jokes about the late-night shake-up in his monologue and even did a Leno-themed top 10 list on Wednesday night's Late Show.
"I got a call from my mom today," he said. "She says, ‘Well, David, I see you didn’t get The Tonight Show again.’ ”
When Fallon takes over, Tonight Show will return to 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York, where it will be executive produced by Fallon's former Saturday Night Live boss Lorne Michaels.
Meanwhile, sources tell THR that Fallon's staff gathered after the taping of Late Night on Wednesday to toast the news.
Leno has been host of Tonight Show for 22 years, save for seven months in 2009-10 when Conan O'Brien took over and Leno launched a short-lived primetime show on NBC.