Leno set to Fallon his sword

KEVIN WINTER / GETTY IMAGES Back in 2004, Jimmy Fallon was a guest on Jay Leno's show. Next spring, 10 years later, his will be the cup that says "host" on it.
KEVIN WINTER / GETTY IMAGES Back in 2004, Jimmy Fallon was a guest on Jay Leno's show. Next spring, 10 years later, his will be the cup that says "host" on it.
Posted: April 05, 2013

OUR LONG, national "Tonight"-mare is almost over.

NBC on Wednesday officially announced its poorly handled switch in late night, replacing incumbent Jay Leno, 62, at "The Tonight Show" with Jimmy Fallon, 38 - and moving the iconic franchise back to New York.

The move had been widely reported but not confirmed by the network. NBC reportedly just wrapped up negotiations with Fallon on a contract extension.

Even though NBC has little experience with shows at the top of the ratings, Steve Burke, chief executive of NBC Universal, said that the network is purposefully making the move when Leno is still at the top, just as when Leno replaced Johnny Carson at "The Tonight Show."

"Jimmy Fallon is a unique talent, and this is his time," Burke said.

To boost the switchover, Fallon will take over in conjunction with NBC's coverage of next year's Winter Olympics.

NBC was worried that ABC's 45-year-old Jimmy Kimmel would establish himself as a go-to late-night performer for a younger generation if the network didn't move swiftly to install Fallon. But the move also has the potential to backfire with Leno's fans, who did not embrace 49-year-old Conan O'Brien when Leno was temporarily moved to prime time a few years ago.

The move of "Tonight" to New York also could have a positive impact on Kimmel, who will now be first choice for any would-be guest on the West Coast.

"Saturday Night Live" producer Lorne Michaels, will take over as producer of the new "Tonight Show." Michaels is 68, and already has a fairly busy schedule. Fallon's replacement at 12:35 a.m. was not named, although 39-year-old Seth Meyers of "SNL" is considered a strong candidate.

The first effort toward making that transition smooth came on Monday night, when Leno and Fallon appeared in a comic video making fun of all the late-night rumors. It aired in between each man's show.

Leno, in a statement, offered his congratulations to Fallon.

"I hope you're as lucky as me and hold on to the job until you're the old guy," he said. "If you need me, I'll be at the garage."

Fallon said, "I'm really excited to host a show that starts today instead of tomorrow."

Hedgehog alert

Ron Jeremy is out of the hospital, his heart is OK and all his equipment seems to be working.

In fact, CNN reports, the 59-year-old porn legend has already shot a scene for " Jessica Drake's Guide to Wicked Sex: Legends."

It's an instructional film about how to please a woman, and Jeremy stars with Evan Stone, Steven St. Croix and Sean Michaels.

For his first scene back, the never-bashful Jeremy cleared the room in case, you know . . .

"I was nervous," he told CNN. "Blood-pressure medicine can affect the penis. I'm taking blood-pressure medicine now, and I was able to do it, but my scenes aren't as good as they used to be. I don't get the full massive. If I could be so specific, CNN, it bends a little. But it felt good being back in the saddle."

"I'm really grateful that Ron Jeremy could be here with us today," Drake said during a break in shooting. "I'd like to pick his brain some more, but I wanted to go easy on him. I was really worried about having him on the set. When he was getting [oral sex], I was really watching; watching his breathing, watching his face. Everything."

TATTBITS * In case you were worried that America had the worst education system in the world, five schools in western Norway have rescheduled their April midterm exams to allow students to attend upcoming Justin Bieber concerts 230 miles away in Oslo, the country's Ministry of Education and Research said Wednesday. The schools didn't want the kids calling with Bieber Fever. The Biebs is extremely popular in Norway, where his free concert in Oslo last year resulted in dozens of injuries as teenage girls fought to get better glimpses of him. Kristin Halvorsen, Norway's education minister, said that she did not intend to intervene with the schools' decisions. As the minister explained, "We've all been 14-years-old and know that interests can be intense." * A British jury convicted two men on Wednesday of plotting to rob and kill soul singer Joss Stone. Junior Bradshaw, 32, and Kevin Liverpool, 35, were found guilty at Exeter Crown Court on charges of conspiracy to murder, to cause grievous bodily harm and to rob. They had denied the charges. Liverpool was given a life sentence and ordered to serve a minimum of 10 years and eight months. Bradshaw will be sentenced at a later date. * France's Higher Broadcasting Council says that it's taking steps to tighten safety rules for TV reality shows, following two deaths on the French version of "Survivor." In a statement Wednesday, the HBC expressed deep sadness over the death last month of a young contestant and Monday's suicide of an on-screen doctor who treated him. It said that it will consult with French TV stations in the coming weeks to find ways to further "respect human dignity" on such shows, and re-examine the current rules. "Respect human dignity?" That looks like the end of reality TV in France. - Daily News wire services contributed to this report.

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