Photo Credit: Lloyd Bishop/NBC
Jay Leno may finally be retiring from The Tonight Show, and it looks like Jimmy Fallon is next in line for the job. According to The Hollywood Reporter, NBC is preparing to announce Leno's retirement in 2014, at which time Late Night with Jimmy Fallon will become the new Tonight Show. And we cannot wait.
Before we get too excited, we should note that Leno (who began hosting Tonight in 1992) "retired" from Tonight once before, and it didn't go as planned. In 2009, Conan O'Brien took over Tonight and Leno launched a prime-time show; but after seven months, the network backpedaled, and Leno took his old job back (much to the disappointment of O'Brien, who received a multi-million dollar settlement from NBC). While Leno is 62, his retirement still isn't a sure thing; some speculate that he'll stick around until his rival David Letterman announces his retirement, like a game of AARP chicken.
The fact of the matter is that Leno's contract is up in 2014. If he is retiring, and if Fallon is following in Leno's footsteps, NBC is expected to make the announcement in May. Here are 5 reasons why we'd love to see Fallon move into the coveted spot.
1. Everybody loves Jimmy
As popular as Leno is among viewers, there's no denying that he's made a lot of enemies in the business -- including Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel and Howard Stern. Fallon, on the other hand, worked his way up from SNL with an appealing combination of enthusiasm, hard work and good will. While Leno has an obvious chip on his shoulder, Fallon is friendly and goofy -- a much more appealing person to spend our evenings with before bedtime.
2. Music to our ears
Fallon totally raised the bar for late-night music when he got The Roots to be his house band. Because every musician wants to jam with Questlove, Fallon gets terrific guest performers. And even when it's just him and the band, it's still pretty fantastic.
3. Presidential appeal
When the residents of the White House want to let loose, they pay a visit to Fallon's studio. Where else have we seen Michelle Obama "mom dance" or Barack Obama slow jam the news? In this time of tense political stand-offs, we appreciate Jimmy's commitment to showing us the lighter side of government!
4. Unconventional interviews
It can be tough to get A-list stars to open up, but Fallon is very creative about it. Remember the time he convinced Tom Cruise to challenge him in a "water war"? Half the time, it seems like late-night hosts aren't even familiar with the celebs they're talking to, so Jimmy's above-and-beyond efforts really stand out.
5. Viral video power
Even with his extra-late time slot, Jimmy has managed to create moments that got everyone talking: from turning Tina Fey and Amy Poehler into Jersey Shore guidettes, to re-working "All I Want for Christmas" with Mariah Carey. We're used to waiting until the next morning to see what Fallon's show has delivered -- but if he's on at 11:35, maybe we won't have to!