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Flawless Jimmy Fallon Just Might Take Over for Jay Leno on ‘The Tonight Show’

Jimmy Fallon Jay Leno
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

If you ever thought ‘The Tonight Show’ needed more boyish good looks and breaking into giggle fits, you’re in luck: Jimmy Fallon is rumored to be replacing Jay Leno on the long-running late night chat show.

Though NBC denies Leno’s exit, sources insisted to The Hollywood Reporter that the 2013-14 season would be Leno’s last. As a result, the network is seeking replacements that will attract younger viewers.

Enter Fallon into the 11:35 time slot.

This would pin Fallon against another Jimmy: Jimmy Kimmel, who loathes Leno and frequently bests him in the 18-49 demographic (though Leno generally wins overall ratings wars).

NBC is trying to avoid an all-out bidding war a la Conan O’Brien by setting up the transition early, but Leno is said to be reluctant to retire before his bitter rival, David Letterman. Still, the Peacock Network may benefit from the May upfronts if they can sell the season as Leno’s last. (Again.)

However, the rivalry between Letterman and Leno is so bitter that the two may well sport oxygen tanks on the air before they let the other see them quit.

For its part, NBC refuses to comment “on rumor.” Translation: “Fallon’s going to get the seat while it’s still warm, but we’re not going to tell you that yet.”

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