That's right - starting sometime in 2009, when Conan O'Brien leaves his 12:30 AM slot to take over for Jay Leno at The Tonight Show, SNL-alum Jimmy Fallon will step into Big Red's shoes.
The announcement came yesterday - (quite coincidentally) the same day that Fallon was appearing on O'Brien's show. The interview, however, consisted almost entirely of a two-way ass-kissing session ("I always watch the show, I'm the biggest fan of yours... you're great with guests... you've set the bar really, really high... I'm so nervous and excited..." - "I think you're gonna do an amazing job..." blah blah blah), proving that this decision had been made some time before it was announced.
There are many who doubt Fallon's ability to successfully host a late night talk show, and also many who simply can't stand the man himself as a performer. Admittedly, he does tend to laugh at his own silliness a lot, and playing an anchor on a fake and scripted news show certainly doesn't equate to this particular job. But to all the Fallon-haters out there, I say: "Hell, they let Chevy Chase have a shot, didn't they?" And just keep in mind what an unpopular choice Leno was when he took over for the pervious host, Johnny Carson, in 1992. He's pretty well accepted these days, even if his shtick isn't nearly as entertaining as some of the other late shows out there.
I, personally, hope to see O'Brien keep his original, wacky, mostly-scripted show dynamic when he moves to Los Angeles (which I presume is where they will continue to shoot The Tonight Show), and that Jimmy will create his own dynamic for his incarnation of Late Night. (I think we can all bid farewell to "Headlines" and the self-aggrandizing "The Audience Wants to Know"... and I don't think 'ConanWalking' has quite the right ring to it.)
As for Fallon, producer Lorne Michaels (creator and executive producer of Fallon's break-out vehicle, Saturday Night Live) publicly admitted that "a learning curve" is inevitable for the new Late Night host, noting that even Conan took about a year to get into his groove when he started in the early '90s. So, if things don't go smoothly right away, just remember: it's all part of the plan.
And I gotta think that Carson Daly is pretty let down by some of this, but ya know what, Carson? You dated Jennifer Love Hewitt. So just shut up.
Good luck, Jimbo!