Fox News' Roger Friedman reports that a long-swirling TV rumor is about to become fact: Jimmy Fallon will replace Conan O'Brien when O'Brien makes the jump to "The Tonight Show" in 2009. Friedman writes:
The word is out among the NBC brass: As rumored and bounced around for some time, Jimmy Fallon is set to take Conan O'Brien's job as host of "Late Night" in 2009. It's a done deal....
There's much debate about letting Leno leave NBC etc. but right now let's just concentrate on Jimmy. He's the perfect successor to Conan and should have just as big an audience when he takes the reins. Fallon is one of those great underrated performers. This should be the right milieu for him.
I'm told NBC will make the formal announcement about Fallon around May 11 or 12, when the network presents the fall '08 schedule to advertisers here in New York.
Reports of Jimmy Fallon replacing Conan O'Brien are not new. The New York Times' Bill Carter reported in February 2007 that NBC was eying Fallon as O'Brien's replacement, and a later report in July 2007 from Broadcasting & Cable's Ben Grossman said that Fallon was NBC's first choice for the "Late Night" job.