You’d better get used to seeing Jimmy Fallon behind the Tonight Show desk, because he’s going to be around for awhile. The funnyman just inked a deal that will keep him on as host of the No. 1 late-night talk show until 2021.
As reported by Deadline, NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt announced the new deal at NBC’s Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour today. The six-year extension, signed less than two years after Fallon took over for Jay Leno, will keep the SNL alum in the chair until September 2021.
The terms of the deal were not disclosed, though Forbes estimates that Fallon’s original deal bumped him up from the $5 million per year he was earning on Late Night to as much as $12 million per year.
In a statement, NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke praised Fallon’s performance as host of the venerable show, which has been a staple on the network since 1954, as well as his past contributions to NBC from his first season at Saturday Night Live on.
“Jimmy has been an important member of the NBCUniversal family for 17 years. He is extraordinarily talented, hard-working, and brings a level of creativity and energy every single day that is simply unmatched in television,” Burke said.
As the TV landscape continues to shift from the airwaves to the Web, Fallon in many ways epitomizes the new generation of late night hosts, who trade as much in YouTube clicks and viral social media posts as Nielsen ratings. He faces other rivals who’ve mastered the new style, as well, including the “other” Jimmy in Jimmy Kimmel, cablers like Jon Oliver and Conan O’Brien, and incoming CBS challenger Stephen Colbert, who will take over David Letterman’s post at Late Show in September.
The job of keeping America laughing after dark appears to increasingly be a young man’s game — Letterman even confessed to Rolling Stone in a recent interview that his inability to compete with the YouTube success of his competitors was part of the reason he relinquished his post after 33 years at CBS.
Fallon’s numbers speak for themselves when it comes to ratings, keeping the Tonight Show at the top of the heap during his smooth transition from Late Night. But his prowess for success in both the old guard of broadcast TV and the new age of short-form one-offs online may just be his greatest asset.
Either way, NBC isn’t letting him go anytime soon.