Today, a very excitable Jimmy Fallon announced he is taking over the show that Letterman made into one of the giants of television.
OK!’s Oliver Coleman made the long trek from our offices (five blocks!) to the NBC studios at Rockefeller Center to get the scoop on the comedian’s big moment.
With his family, including wife Nancy Juvonen, in the audience on the 67th floor, Jimmy joined exec producer Lorne Michaels to confirm that he will be taking over from Conan O’Brien on the NBC’s Late Night.
The Saturday Night Live alum told us why this is his dream come true, how it will change his life (and his hair color) and about his ambitious plans for the decor!
"I am so excited," said Jimmy.
"It’s a comedian’s dream to get this job, to work with writers and try to be funny every night," he beamed.
But the New Yorker knows that sitting in one of the most famous seats in TV isn’t always going to be comfortable.
"I say ‘try’ because I know it won’t be funny every night, that’s what great about live TV: you’ve got to come back the next night and throw the same hard punches. And knock people out."
To get back to match fitness after a few years as an actor, Jimmy says he’s been already been going a few rounds with stand-up audiences, even though he won’t get his feet under that famous desk until some time next year.
He says he’s not going to make any rash moves to make the show his own.
"I’m not going to reinvent the wheel with the talk show format, I think that there’s no need to, but when Conan took over for Letterman, he wasn’t Letterman, he was Conan, and in that same way, it sets the bar pretty high to kind of make my show, and I think it just happens over time."
But he did add that he has something of a vision for the set. "And all the furniture will be suspended six feet in the air."
Jimmy, 33, from Saugerties, N.Y., said that he’s going take a few pointers from Conan, the Late Night veteran of 15 years (whom Michaels has given his full blessing to his successor).
"I’m going to dye my hair red and get lifts in my shoes," Jimmy laughed.
"Conan is the greatest guy, I’m a huge fan of the show. He was actually the first talk show I was ever on after getting Saturday Night Live.
"I talked to him last week, and we had a long time to talk. He had great advice for me, the basic advice that you would probably give me: that’s it’s hard work and be funny."
In his kindergarten yearbook, Jimmy, at mere five years of age, was named "the kid most likely to be the next David Letterman." Since his kindergarten year book was right on the money, maybe he should take a look at his high school yearbook while he’s tinkering with the format for Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. He told an interviewer recently that the quote under his picture read: "A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down the pants!"
Now there’s a formula for success!