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April 3, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

NBC finally ended all the awkward speculation and announced today (Wednesday) that Jimmy Fallon will replace Jay Leno as host of the Tonight show in the spring. According to recent rumors, NBC executives had wanted to move Fallon to the 11:30 time slot in February, during the network’s coverage of the Winter Olympics, and move Seth Meyers into Fallon’s Late Night slot. The network said only that it was “making plans” to fell Fallon’s slot. The network included this statement from Leno in its announcement: “Congratulations Jimmy,” said Leno. “I hope you’re as lucky as me and hold on to the job until you’re the old guy. If you need me, I’ll be at the garage.” (Leno is an avid car collector.) Fallon said (in a line that could have been written for a late-night monologue): “I’m really excited to host a show that starts today instead of tomorrow.” On Monday night Fallon and Leno participated in a sketch on Fallon’s show in which the two maintained that they were still friends despite the rumors that Leno would be removed from his Tonight show hosting duties and replaced by Fallon as part of an attempt by network execs to lure younger viewers. Los Angeles Times “Showtracker” columnist Meredith Blake commented, “It was a smart way for Leno and Fallon to address the perceived rivalry between them, but it didn’t do much to dampen the rumors that Fallon is poised to take over Tonight in the very near future. In fact, the ending suggested a peaceful transition may already be underway.” On the other hand, Kevin Fallon at wrote, “If this is any sort of olive branch — though it’s still unclear which host is extending it to whom — it’s a flimsy one at best.” And the Hollywood Reporter‘s Tim Goodman said that the whole thing played “like a clip from a Hallmark movie about gay lovers that’s airing sometime soon on Bravo.”