Photo: Michael Loccisano, Getty Images
After weeks of speculation, NBC officially anointed Seth Meyers to replace Jimmy Fallon as host of Late Night, the talk show that follows the Tonight Show at 12:35 a.m. ET/PT.
Saturday Night Live's head writer and Weekend Update anchor will transition to the talk show when Fallon takes over Tonight from Jay Lenoin late February, after NBC's Winter Olympics from Sochi, Russia.
Late Night will remain based in New York, with Lorne Michaels as executive producer and Mike Shoemaker continuing as day-to-day producer.
"We think Seth is one of the brightest, most insightful comedy writers and performers of his generation," says NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenbatt in a statement, adding Meyers' 12 seasons on SNL "helped him hone a topical brand of comedy that is perfect for the Late Night franchise."
NBC's latest round of late-night musical chairs began in early April, when the network announced it would again usher Leno - still the most-watched wee-hours host - out the door at Tonight, and move Fallon in early next year.
When executives discussed replacing Fallon (also an SNL veteran), Meyers was the only obvious candidate for the job. He's been SNL's head writer for the past eight years, anchored Update for seven, and is known to have been seeking another challenge.
He was a finalist to succeed Regis Philbin on syndicated talk show Live With Regis and Kelly, a job that ultimately went to Michael Strahan. Meyers will remain on SNL for the first half of next season, until he begins preparing for his new job in January.
"He's well-known, he's funny, and I think that will help him," says analyst Brad Adgate at ad firm Horizon Media, adding he's a natural choice who's "very compatible with Fallon, and certainly the ratings expectations aren't as great."
Given Meyers' background as a writer who doesn't appear in SNL sketches, Adgate expects him to do more interviews and less physical comedy than Fallon. As of next year, all three of NBC's top late-night franchises - Tonight, Late Night and SNL - will air from NBC's Rockefeller Plaza in New York, with only Last Call With Carson Daly, which airs at 1:37 a.m.,originating in Los Angeles.
Late Night premiered in 1982, and Michaels says Meyers is in "good company" with the show's three previous hosts, David Letterman, Conan O'Brien and Fallon.
"I only have to work for Lorne for five more years before I pay him back for the time I totaled his car," Meyers joked. "12:30 on NBC has long been incredible real estate. I hope I can do it justice."