Jay Leno Talks ‘Tonight Show’ Exit, Says “Jimmy Fallon Makes Perfect Sense”

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All’s well that ends well, according to Tonight Show host of more than 20 years, Jay Leno.

Jay Leno

In an exclusive interview with CBS’ 60 Minutes, airing this Sunday, Jan. 26, the man who hosted late night for over two decades, will be exiting the show and handing the torch over to fellow comedian, Jimmy Fallon.

Fallon, 39, an SNL alum who currently hosts Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, is slated to take over the Tonight Show on Feb. 17. Meanwhile Jay Leno, who took over as host after the late Johnny Carson in 1992, will host his final episode on Feb. 6.

So what does Leno, 63, have to say about the change? Well for starters, we should mention that this isn’t the first time NBC has attempted to replace the veteran talk show staple. Back in 2009 the network blindsided Leno by temporarily replacing him with funny man Conan O’Brien. As a result, ratings fell, O’Brien was out, and the star was then asked to return as host.

Now however, it appears both NBC and Leno have agreed (albeit a little reluctant on Jay’s end), and are confidant in their choice as the new Tonight Show host.

Looking back at his career as host, Leno told 60 Minutes, “It’s not my decision, and I think I probably would have stayed if we didn’t have an extremely qualified, young guy ready to jump in. Jimmy Fallon is probably more like a young Johnny Carson than almost anybody since. And he’s really good. So you go with the new guy. Makes perfect sense to me.”

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