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The torch will be passed this February on NBC, not only as the Winter Games get started in Sochi, Russia, but as Jay Leno prepares to depart The Tonight Show (again) and Jimmy Fallon takes over as host. NBC’s new promo for this anticipated event acknowledges the history of the late night talk show, which has been on the air for more than half a century, and has seen a handful of different hosts over the course of its 60-year run. The video released is titled "A Tradition Continues."
Interestingly enough, the promo does acknowledge Conan O’Brien’s brief run as host on The Tonight Show, however, as Variety points out, the network has fudged the timeline just a little bit during the part where it lists off all the names of the hosts in order.
Technically, it would be Steve Allen, Jack Paar, Johnny Carson, Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien and Jay Leno. The first Leno is missing in their quick run-through, suggesting that O’Brien succeeded Carson. Leno took over for Carson in 1992 and departed The Tonight Show in 2009, handing the reigns over to Conan O’Brien, whose tenure lasted less than a year. Leno reclaimed the throne in 2010 and remains the host until February.
Maybe NBC thought it would be strange to put Leno’s name in that list twice, or maybe it was just too awkward to acknowledge that whole situation any more directly than they had by simply including Coco’s name in the spot to begin with. Especially considering this is a promo about the new host of The Tonight Show, and given how clunky things went the last time they attempted to do that, they might not be so eager to reminisce.
The 2014 Winter Olympics are set to kick off in Sochi, Russia early in February, and the event — which is set to be covered by NBC — will run through February 23, 2014, which should give NBC plenty of opportunity to promote Fallon taking over The Tonight Show, which is set to happen on Monday, February 17.
Rumors about Leno’s departure started circulating last March and were finally confirmed in April of 2013, along with the following promotional photo:
So it’s been close to a year since we heard this was coming, and now we’re at the point where NBC’s ready to start promoting the change. Whether or not viewers will be ready for the transition come February remains to be seen.