10:04am PT by Marisa Guthrie
NBC Extends Jimmy Fallon's 'Tonight Show' Deal Through 2021
With the anticipated bow of Stephen Colbert on CBS, NBC has locked Jimmy Fallon in as Tonight Show host for six more years, through the 2021 season.
NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt made the announcement Thursday morning from the podium during his session at the Television Critics Association summer press tour.
Greenblatt noted that everyone at NBC is "big fans" of Colbert. But he called Fallon the genre's most "versatile star," who has remade the Tonight Show institution into a "destination" since he took over in February 2014.
The Tonight Show is averaging a 1.1 rating in adults 18-49 and 3.8 million viewers overall for the 2014-2015 season.
"We're elated that [Fallon] is going to be around in the role he was born to play," added Greenblatt.
Colbert and Fallon are friends, with the former having made multiple appearances on Fallon's Tonight Show as well as his Late Night. And Colbert told members of the press on Monday that he was not interested in stoking a rivalry like the one that existed between predecessors Jay Leno and David Letterman.
"Maybe I missed the competitive gene," he said. "The idea of war between hosts makes no sense to me. Fighting amongst each other doesn't sound funny, so I'm not interested."
Greenblatt also noted that the 2016 presidential election will continue to benefit Late Night With Seth Meyers, whose bailiwick at former home Saturday Night Live was certainly political comedy. To that end, Meyers recently has ditched the stand-up monologue (something he has admitted is not his strong suit) and now begins the show behind his desk with a riff on the day's news. And Greenblatt noted that the show is on a 20-week ratings high.
Added Greenblatt: "Heading into this crazy election year, I think it will only give Seth more and more momentum."