It's a momentous occasion for late-night television. The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon — the first Tonight Show in New York for almost 42 years — debuts tonight at midnight (11PM CT) after NBC's Olympics coverage (post-Olympics, the show will return to its usual 11:35PM time slot).
Fallon is taking over for Jay Leno, who has hosted since Johnny Carson retired in 1992 (barring seven months in 2009 / 2010 when Conan O'Brien was host). Will Smith is The Tonight Show's first guest, alongside musical guest U2. Other guests this week include Jerry Seinfeld, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Justin Timberlake.
Fallon and The Muppets sing farewell to Late Night
Fallon's Tonight Show — with executive producer Lorne Michaels — is expected to be similar to his version of Late Night, with most of the crew (including house band The Roots) following him to the new show. The Tonight Show will be recorded in Studio 6B at NBC's 30 Rock building, the same studio once used by Carson and Jack Paar, and will have a new title sequence directed by Spike Lee.
The new Late Night, hosted by former Saturday Night Live "Weekend Update" anchor Seth Meyers, premieres next Monday, February 24th — with SNL alum Fred Armisen as band leader.