Jimmy Fallon makes debut as Tonight Show host

Jimmy Fallon makes debut as Tonight Show host

Credit: Getty Images

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 07: Andy Samberg Visits "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" at Rockefeller Center on February 7, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

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by KGW and Associated Press

kgw.com

Posted on February 17, 2014 at 8:29 PM

Updated Monday, Feb 17 at 8:30 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — Little more than a week after exiting "Late Night," Jimmy Fallon makes his much-anticipated debut Monday as host of NBC's "Tonight Show," as the venerable TV institution returns to New York after four decades based on the West Coast.

Scheduled guests are U2 and Will Smith, with the show reclaiming Rockefeller Center's Studio 6B, where "Tonight" aired during its early Johnny Carson years.

Fallon, who had hosted "Late Night" since 2009, moves up to the job Jay Leno held for much of the past 22 years until his recent departure from the "Tonight" host chair.

The 39-year-old Fallon first found stardom as a cast member and "Weekend Update" co-anchor on "Saturday Night Live." He left "SNL" in 2004 to pursue a movie career, but he was met with less success in that arena.

Despite the excitement surrounding his new "Tonight" stint (much of it expressed by Fallon himself), he has also emphasized that "Tonight" under his regime won't be notably different from the show his "Late Night" had evolved into.

Although airing an hour earlier than "Late Night" (but this week seen at a special time, midnight Eastern), "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" will feature many of the same comic bits, the same house band, the Roots, and announcer-sidekick Steve Higgins.

Filling the vacancy left by Fallon at "Late Night" will be fellow "SNL" alum Seth Meyers, who signs on as host next Monday, with Fred Armisen of Portlandia fame, yet another former "SNL"-er, as band leader.

Fallon visited KGW in Portland in December and sat down for an interview with KGW anchor Joe Donlon about taking over as host of The Tonight Show.

While in Portland, he also performed a personalized version of his popular "Thank You Notes" sketch, Thank You, Portland.

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