TODAY   |  April 04, 2013

Jimmy Fallon to take over ‘Tonight’ for Jay Leno

The changing of the guard is now official at NBC’s “Tonight Show”: as rumored, late night host Jimmy Fallon will take over next spring when Jay Leno leaves. NBC’s Kristen Dahlgren reports.

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>> changing of the guard is official at the " tonight show ." jimmy fallon will take over for jay leno starting next spring. and both men talked about it last night on their shows. kristen dahlgren with the latest. good morning to you.

>> reporter: hey, good morning, savannah. not just los angeles , burbank. this is the lot where the " tonight show " is filmed almost every year since johnny carson moved it here in 1972 , but now the show is headed back east to new york with a new host.

>> on the shows wednesday night.

>> i want to congratulate jimmy fallon .

>> reporter: there was no shortage of material.

>> today, i accepted a new position, i'm going to be the head basketball coach at rutgers university . thank you very much.

>> this is " late night " with jimmy fallon for now.

>> reporter: after an admittedly awkward few weeks.

>> nbc and i have reached a peaceful ammicable agreement beneficial to both sides.

>> reporter: nbc reached it had reached a deal and the " tonight show " will go to jimmy fallon and move back to new york in the spring.

>> i'm going to be hosting the " tonight show " here on nbc . a lot more emotional. it's a lot more emotional for me than i thought it was going to be. i didn't know when anything was going to happen. and you start thinking of everything and you realize all the people you have to thank. i've got to say thanks to jay leno for being so gracious.

>> reporter: leno has helmed the " tonight show " since 1992 and famously left once before when conan o'brien took over for a few months before jay came back. network execs hoping fallon can draw a younger demographic. tonight tonight my ratings were all right

>> reporter: but while leno joked about leaving his number one in the ratings in 2009 he said this.

>> the way the " tonight show " works is they always want you to leave it while it's still on top. and i get that.

>> we're still friends, right?

>> of course we're still friends.

>> reporter: making for what many hope is a much smoother transition when leno leaves this time.

>> jimmy fallon is a very famously nice guy. he doesn't want to be perceived as pushing leno out of the chair. when leno signed his last contract, i think he knew this was it.

>> now, overnight @jimmyfallon tweeted today was one of the most exciting days of my life. i read every tweet and every post and i thank you. our congratulations to go out to him, as well. as for jay leno , he said in a statement, you know, he's a famous car buff. he says i'll be at the garage, but hollywood insiders say don't be surprised if you don't see him showing up on the air somewhere in the future.

>> kristen dahlgren in burbank for the time being . watching jay leno , he'll have lots of options.

>> dave letterman called his show and said, so, dave, i see you didn't get the