Nightly News   |  February 17, 2014

‘It’s Becoming Real’: Jimmy Fallon on Late Night’s New Era

On Monday Jimmy Fallon takes the reins of “The Tonight Show” in the same studio where it all began decades ago.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> later tonight, following your late local news, in fact a new era will begin at 30 rock in new york where lucky members of the audience filed in for tonight's taping of episode one of "the tonight show ," starring jimmy fallon . after a hugely successful run in los angeles , jay leno has passed the baton east to jimmy. and before we left new york jimmy sat down with us in his old studio to talk about his debut, what it all means and what those of us in the audience can expect to see.

>> i'm just excited. it is all starting to sink in, it is becoming real. you're like wow, i can see everything, this is actually going to happen.

>> and it is going to happen in new york , not just because jimmy fallon is from here but because he believes the show belongs here.

>> there is nothing like being in this city, nothing like being in the broadcast, it really does infuse.

>> it is where "the tonight show " started, actually in the actual studio where we're going to be. that is where johnny carson was, jack parr was, this is broadway, times square .

>> fallon moves along as part of a new deal. they debuted their deal for us from his iphone into his phone with narration.

>> beautiful new york theme, "the tonight show ," jimmy fallon 's color. higgins --

>> tonight's guests are emanuel louis. plus, i always --

>> the number of the show.

>> there he is, jimmy fallon .

>> that is good.

>> the time slot will now be fought over by two jimmy's and a dave. along with all the media out there slugging it out for the turf johnny carson used to own outright.

>> hash tag, is it friday yet?

>> fallon has modernized late night comedy, there are parodies, games of chance, celebrities, some chest waxing, there is slow jamming, some better than others, jimmy does jagger and dylan, and what is his friday night signature, thank you notes.

>> hamburger helper glove, for helping me cook and for never mentioning how you lost a finger.

>> jimmy fallon is built to please, he works for laughs and works for the audience in his studio and at home. and at home, things have changed for the fallons. his new daughter, winnie.

>> i'm enjoying the moment more, because when you have a baby you enjoy all of their moments.

>> his and decision for saturday night live seems so long ago. but he got the job and stayed six years, then late night , now "the tonight show ." he says it is all still surreal. we ended our interview with a walk from jimmy's old studio across the hall to his beautiful new home. and while our cameras were not allowed in because the network did not want to spoil tonight's debut, it is hard to adequately describe what we saw.

>> you guys can't -- i can't believe you have done this all in pink.

>> well, pink is the new blue?

>> and why the urinal?

>> just efficiency, maybe the hot tub is too much. i'm keeping the urinal.

>> are you sure this is going to be good for tonight.

>> it better be, we're going on the air.

>> and a thing we'll have to wait for, the new opening sequence by spike lee . to our friend, jimmy, long