Fallon broke the news Sunday during a press conference at the Television Critics Association winter press tour.
Calling his new gig “surreal,” Fallon confessed, “I don’t want to let anyone down. I know how much the show means. It’s an important job. And I just want to make everyone laugh.”
He said viewers shouldn’t expect too many radical changes from what he’s being doing on Late Night these past five years, although he is taking predecessor Jay Leno’s advice and making his opening monologue longer.
“My monologues were about four minutes, and he was doing 10, so we have to double the material every night,” Fallon noted. (Leno explained to Fallon that many people turn to the Tonight Show for “a complete view of the news.”)
Here are some additional quick-hits from the Fallon session:
* Although he doesn’t have an end date in mind, “If I’m luck enough” to stay as long as Leno or Johnny Carson “I’d love to stay that long. I’m going to play it by ear and keep my head down and see how far that gets me.”
* Fallon isn’t concerned about the inevitable booking wars between The Tonight Show and David Letterman’s Late Show. “It’s never been a problem for us. We had the President of the United States on our show – you can’t get bigger than that.”
* Fallon will “bring [The Tonight Show] to Los Angeles a couple times out of the year.”