Conan O'Brien, the dominant late-night host at 12:35 a.m. (ET) for the past 14 seasons, will succeed Jay Leno as host of the preeminent series on late-night television, NBC's "The Tonight Show," in June of 2009. Beginning in Spring 2009, Jimmy Fallon will step in as the "Late Night" host. The announcement was made today by Ben Silverman, Co-Chairman, NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios and Marc Graboff, Co-Chairman, NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios. "The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien" will begin on Monday, June 1, 2009 (11:35 p.m.-12:35 a.m. ET) with Leno's last "Tonight Show" telecast airing Friday, May 29, 2009.
"'The Tonight Show' has a remarkable history rich in tradition. We're proud of each and every show Jay has shared with America as we look forward to Conan carrying on that outstanding tradition next year," said Rick Ludwin, Executive Vice President, Late Night and Primetime Series, NBC Entertainment. "We also can't wait for Jimmy to showcase his winning style following Conan. Jay has left his personal stamp on 'The Tonight Show' for what will be 17 years. He is enormously creative, generous and professional."
"The Tonight Show" continues to be the most dominant late-night institution in television history. Since it first premiered on September 27, 1954 with Steve Allen, "The Tonight Show" has had just four permanent hosts, including Leno. Allen, host of the then titled "Tonight," eventually left late night to start his own primetime variety series on NBC. Jack Paar premiered on July 29, 1957. On October 1, 1962, Johnny Carson stepped on stage for day one of his tenure as host of "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson." Leno, who began guest-hosting "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" in September 1987, became host of "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" on May 25, 1992. O'Brien joined NBC as a writer on "Saturday Night Live" in 1988 and premiered as host of "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" on September 13, 1993.
"The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien" will originate from Stage 1 at Universal Studios and will be produced by Universal Media Studios. Jeff Ross is the executive producer.