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'Tonight Show' moves back to New York with Fallon as host

  |   Feb. 18, 2014 at 11:26 AM
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NEW YORK, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- New host Jimmy Fallon's debut Monday was the first episode of "The Tonight Show" broadcast from New York in more than 40 years.

Jay Leno, who recently wrapped up his 22-year stint as the program's emcee, took over the host's chair from retiring comedian Johnny Carson. Both Leno and Carson taped the program at its longtime home in Burbank, Calif.

"This is the first 'Tonight Show' broadcast from New York in over 40 years," Fallon, 39, told the audience Monday. "I'm Jimmy Fallon and I'll be your host ... for now. ... I just want to do the best I can and take care of the show for awhile."

The former "Late Night" host appeared emotional as he thanked his wife, baby daughter and parents for their love and support, and recognized the comic icons who presided over "Tonight" before him. He also praised The Roots, his "Late Night" band who moved up with him to "Tonight."

Appearing on Fallon's first "Tonight Show" were Will Smith, Robert De Niro, Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, U2, Joe Namath, Rudy Giuliani, Mariah Carey, Tracy Morgan, Joan Rivers, Kim Kardashian, Seth Rogen, Lindsay Lohan, Sarah Jessica Parker, Mike Tyson and Lady Gaga.

"Thank you for watching," Fallon said at the end of Monday's program. "I'll see you tomorrow!"

Brooklyn filmmaker Spike Lee shot the show's new opening credits, which included glimpses of historical New York landmarks such as Lincoln Center, the New York City Public Library and Radio City Music Hall, TVGuide.com reported.

Booked to appear on the show next week are Reese Witherspoon, Fred Armisen, Rick Ross, Paul Rudd, Shaquille O'Neal, Drew Barrymore, Adam Sandler, Dierks Bentley, Denzel Washington, Cameron Diaz and Mike Tyson.

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