Despite being at the center of speculation, Fallon tells GQ magazine that he's not particularly engrossed by the possibility of filling Leno's shoes. He greeted writer Jeanne Marie Laskas' inquiry on the topic with a rhetorical, "Who really cares?"
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"I mean, in the nicest way, who really cares?" Fallon told Laskas. "In the nicest way … It would be great, sure, I guess. I'd love it, but it's not on my mind. I'm in no rush to do anything. I'm kind of a boring character in that book. I'm not in a fight with Jay or Conan [O'Brien, who briefly succeeded Leno as "The Tonight Show" host], or any of them. I don't have that story."
Fallon also briefly addressed the reports at the top of his "Late Night" monologue Wednesday night, in a casual, joking manner.
"Before we get started, I have to talk about the rumors that came out today which say I'll be moving up to 11:30 — or as my parents call it, 'Eh, still too late,'" Fallon cracked. "Actually, the rumors are true — NBC is turning 'The Tonight Show' into a diving competition."
That last line could be interpreted as an oblique wisecrack about the network's ratings — a topic that Leno has mined laughs out of lately — but Fallon went on to discuss ABC's new reality show "Splash," which premiered this week to encouraging ratings. (Fallon also worked in a fat joke at the expense of "Splash" contestant Louie Anderson.)
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While Fallon is so far content to dance around the topic with wisecracks and verbal shrugs, "Jimmy Kimmel Live" host Jimmy Kimmel — an exceptionally vocal critic of Leno's — tells newly minted CNN host Jake Tapper during Thursday's "The Lead With Jake Tapper" that NBC is "obviously" looking to ditch Leno.
" I mean, well, obviously, NBC is looking to move on, because they did it once already," Kimmel tells Tapper. "This would be the second time that this has happened. So I mean, it makes perfect sense. And Jimmy Fallon is doing a great job. And he’s very popular. And so, I mean, hey, eventually, it’s going to happen one way or the other."
Also read: Kimmel on Leno: 'F— Him"
So far, NBC has been tightlipped about any potential "Tonight Show" succession plans.
But New York Times writer Bill Carter — who has chronicled late night shakeups for two decades — reported Wednesday that the network plans to install Fallon in fall 2014, and move the show back to its original home, New York City, and a new studio in NBC's headquarters at 30 Rockefeller Plaza.