NEW YORK -- NBC today announced its long-rumored switch in late night, replacing incumbent Jay Leno at "The Tonight Show" with Jimmy Fallon and moving the iconic franchise back to New York.
"Saturday Night Live" producer Lorne Michaels will take over as producer of the new "Tonight Show." Fallon's replacement at 12:35 a.m. was not named, although Seth Meyers of "SNL" is considered a strong candidate.
The move had been widely reported but not confirmed by the network until Wednesday. NBC reportedly just wrapped up negotiations with Fallon on a contract extension.
Steve Burke, chief executive officer of NBC Universal, said the network is purposefully making the move when Leno is still at the top of the ratings, just as when Leno replaced Johnny Carson at "The Tonight Show."
"Jimmy Fallon is a unique talent and this is his time," Burke said.
Fallon will take over in conjunction with NBC's coverage of next year's Winter Olympic games. NBC hopes for a big audience - much larger than what it gets in prime time now - to promote the switchover.
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