Nightly News   |  April 03, 2013

Heeere’s Jimmy! Leno to leave ‘The Tonight Show’

Jimmy Fallon will be taking over ‘The Tonight Show’ franchise and moving the show to 30 Rock when Jay Leno leaves in 2014. NBC’s Kristen Dahlgren reports.

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>>> this very network, nbc is in the news tonight after the official word today of a changing of the guard at "the tonight show ." jay leno will pass the baton to jimmy fallon next spring as the show returns home to new york after 40 years on the west coast . our report from kristen dahlgren in beautiful downtown burbank .

>> reporter: after weeks of speculation with even the comedians dancing around the issue. tonight who cares who hosts tonight

>> reporter: today nbc executives announced "tonight" goes to jimmy fallon . the popular host of " late night " who started his career on "saturday night live." fallon joked he's excited to host a show that starts today instead of tomorrow. leno offered up congratulations adding, if you need me, i'll be at the garage -- a reference to his love of classic cars . leno's exit hasn't been without some jabs at nbc , his home for 22 years.

>> nbc and i have reached a peaceful amicable agreement that is both beneficial to both sides -- april fool !

>> reporter: it's not the first time leno has left "t the tonight show ."

>> they always want you to leave while it's still on top. i get that.

>> reporter: in 2009 jay was replaced by " late night " host conan o'brien but was back on "tonight" within months.

>> i think there is a belief in leno's head that it's more appropriate this time and he's going to get the proper send-off.

>> reporter: this time there is one more big change. the storied franchise will no longer shoot here in burbank where johnny carson moved the show back in 1972 . "tonight" is headed east. new york's mayor michael bloomberg gushed while burbank 's mayor threatened a hunger strike .

>> i just wanted to express the sentiment of the community. we would do anything we could to keep them.

>> reporter: today nbc executives praised leno, but said it's jimmy fallon 's time.

>> we're still friends, right?

>> yeah. of course we're still friends.

>> reporter: ending a few weeks of drama with what they hope will be lots of laughs well into the future. kristen dahlgren, nbc news, burbank .