Jay Leno replaced by Jimmy Fallon at Tonight Show

Jay Leno: "I want to congratulate our good friend Jimmy Fallon"

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Late-night television show host Jay Leno will be replaced by presenter Jimmy Fallon on NBC's The Tonight Show, the US network has said.

The switch in February 2014, which was widely anticipated, will see the show relocate from Los Angeles to New York.

NBC also said Lorne Michaels, the renowned producer of Saturday Night Live, will produce The Tonight Show.

NBC head Steve Burke said the network was making the change while the show was at the peak of its ratings.

"Jimmy Fallon is a unique talent and this is his time," Mr Burke said.

The network used the same strategy when handing the show over to Leno from Johnny Carson, its previous host.

Fallon will reportedly begin on The Tonight Show during NBC's coverage of the Winter Olympics, when the network expects to see a spike in its audience.

Correspondents say NBC executives were concerned a rival late-night show hosted by Jimmy Kimmel on the ABC network would make gains among the crucial younger audience if Fallon's move did not happen quickly.

This is the second time in recent years NBC has sought to replace Leno, who has hosted the show from Los Angeles since 1992.

In 2009, NBC handed the show over to Conan O'Brien, but the move backfired and the network reinstated Leno.

This time, Leno has congratulated Fallon on the promotion.

"I hope you're as lucky as me and hold on to the job until you're the old guy," Leno said in a statement. "If you need me, I'll be at the garage."

Meanwhile, in a reference to his current show Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, which begins at 00:30 ET (04:30 GMT), Fallon said: "I'm really excited to host a show that starts today instead of tomorrow."

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