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Jay Leno to Retire from 'Tonight' Show in Spring 2014; Fallon to Take Over Hosting Duties

Jimmy Fallon appears on "The Tonight Show" with Jay Leno.
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Jimmy Fallon appears on "The Tonight Show" with Jay Leno.

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Jimmy Fallon has signed a contract extension with NBC that will keep him at the network, executives with knowledge of the deal said Tuesday night. It is understood the deal will include that he will succeed Jay Leno as host of the "Tonight" show at some point, they said.

A transition from Mr. Leno to Mr. Fallon has been rumored to be in the works for weeks, with the added expectation that when Mr. Fallon assumes the job, he will host the show back in New York, after an absence of more than 40 years.

The exact timing of when Mr. Fallon might take over the host job is still uncertain, the executives said. The two most likely times for the changeover would be in February, in connection with NBC's coverage of the Winter Olympics from Sochi, Russia, or September 2014 at the conclusion of Mr. Leno's current contract. (NBC is parent of NBCUniversal, also a parent of CNBC.)

The exact terms of Mr. Fallon's new deal were not disclosed. But securing him means, at the least, that he will not be on the market when his current contract ends. That deal would have ended in 2015.

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