Upfront: NBC Brings Out Top Brass for Fallon Announcement

New York -- NBC Monday formalized the hiring of Jimmy Fallon to replace Conan O’Brien on the network’s 12:30 a.m. Late Night show in 2009.

While Fallon’s selection was one of the worst-kept secrets in the business, that didn’t stop NBC from trotting out Fallon and all of its top brass at a midday press conference at network headquarters here.

Among those on hand were NBC Universal topper Jeff Zucker, entertainment co-chairs Ben Silverman and Marc Graboff, Late Night and Saturday Night Live chief Lorne Michaels and NBC late night executive Rick Ludwin.

The introduction included words from Silverman (who called Fallon “an incomparable host who gets live television”) and Graboff, as well as a clip of Fallon’s SNL clips.

Then a visibly excited yet jittery Fallon took the podium, eventually prompting Michaels to come stand at his side.

Fallon kept things light-hearted most of the time, such as when he comfortably sidestepped questions about his salary (“I just want to live comfortably … in Dubai”) and contract length (“I have the same contract as Willard Scott … 150 years”).

While few details of the show came out of the event (such as a start date), the network said it is negotiating with a showrunner with late-night experience and hopes to announce it in coming weeks if the deal gets closed.

From a grand scheme, Michaels and Fallon agreed that the show will not try to reinvent the late-night wheel. It will have a band, for instance, as it does with O’Brien as the host.

Fallon said he spoke with O’Brien just last week and, in fact, Late Night was Fallon’s first late-night talk show appearance after landing the SNL gig.

He also often acknowledged the hard work that goes into a talk show, joking that his wife left him a note saying, “Nice knowing you.”

Fallon also claimed (seriously) that in his kindergarten yearbook at his upstate New York school, he was named “Most Likely to Take Over for David Letterman.”

“If you are good at it, it’s the last job you will ever have,” he added.

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