Conan O’Brien, the dominant late-night host at 12:35 a.m. (ET) for the past 15 seasons, will sign off as host of “Late Night” on February 20, 2009 and beginning March 2, 2009, “SNL” alum Jimmy Fallon will take over the reins as “Late Night” host.
In addition, Fallon’s nightly video blogs will continue at www.nbc.com/jimmyfallon as he ramps up for his March broadcast debut.
As previously announced, O’Brien will be taking over “The Tonight Show” hosting duties on June 1, 2009 and Jay Leno’s last “Tonight Show” telecast will air Friday, May 29, 2009.
Fallon is the third host of “Late Night” which has dominated the 12:35 a.m. timeslot since its inception in 1982 with then-host David Letterman. Fallon’s “Late Night” will depart from Letterman and O’Brien’s Studio 6A and cross the hall to Studio 6B in NBC’s 30 Rockefeller Plaza headquarters in New York.
Studio 6B has a long history of comedy within its walls. 6B was the New York home of the first ten years of Johnny Carson’s unprecedented “Tonight Show” tenure as well as for his predecessor Jack Paar, who made television history — in 6B — by quitting his own show on the air after NBC censored a joke the night before. In its days as a studio for NBC Radio, it hosted such comedy legends as Bob Hope and Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis. It housed the first late night show in television history “Broadway Open House” in 1950 as well as the legendary “Texaco Star Theater” starring Milton Berle. In addition, it was from Studio 6B that the infamous game show “Twenty One” (the basis of the film “Quiz Show”) originated, as well as where the legendary Ernie Kovacs created innovative comedy on his groundbreaking daytime show.