NBC on Sunday locked in the final piece of its late-night schedule, naming Seth Meyers the host of Late Night. The Saturday Night Live head writer and “Weekend Update” mainstay will succeed Jimmy Fallon, who in February 2014 takes over The Tonight Show from Jay Leno.
Lorne Michaels will produce the new-look Late Night, as well as The Tonight Show.
In its 31-year history, Late Night has been steered by three hosts: David Letterman (1982-93), Conan O’Brien (1993-2009) and Fallon (2009-present). While he’s hardly an éminence grise, Meyers will be 40 years old when he takes on the Late Night gig, making him the oldest entertainer to slide into the role. Letterman was 35 when he kicked off Late Night, O’Brien was a sprightly 30 and Fallon was 34.
An SNL mainstay since 2001, Meyers was the odds-on favorite to inherit Fallon’s job.
“We think Seth is one of the brightest, most insightful comedy writers and performers of his generation,” said NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt, by way of announcing the move. The programming chief went on to add that Meyers' 12 seasons on SNL “helped him hone a topical brand of comedy that is perfect for the Late Night franchise.”
A premiere date for Late Night with Seth Meyers has not been disclosed, although it’s likely that the New Hampshire native will take the reins immediately after NBC’s coverage of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
As the producer of The Tonight Show, Late Night and SNL, Michaels effectively will control every hour of NBC’s post-prime schedule, other than Sunday night.
In a statement, Meyers acknowledged the power of the Canadian Svengali, joking, “I only have to work for Lorne for five more years before I pay him back for the time I totaled his car. Twelve-thirty on NBC has long been incredible real estate. I hope I can do it justice.”
Meyers will remain on the SNL staff through this fall, whereupon he’ll transition to his new gig. While Michaels has not identified a replacement anchor at the “Weekend Update” desk, the smart money’s on comedian/writer John Mulaney, who has made a cottage industry out of making Bill Hader break character in the popular “Stefon” skits.