Jimmy Fallon gets Jay Leno’s blessing, which is to say Lorne Michaels has NBC where he wants them

Jay Leno, Jimmy Fallon. Not pictured: Lorne Michaels. ()
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The Lineup collects the media stories, big and small, that are on our radar each day.

The big news today is news that we already, kind of, sort of, knew: that Jimmy Fallon is, officially, taking the reins at "The Tonight Show" from Jay Leno, whom nobody I have met finds funny but whom many, many, many Americans do.

The bullet points:

•  Fallon takes over in late February or early March, 2014.

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•  The official NBC announcement is out (click here to scroll to the bottom of this page to read it) …

•  … but the Times' Bill Carter broke it today, with quotes from Jay Leno and network executives and Jimmy Fallon and everyone.

•  Remember the last time a young buck got Jay Leno's job? No Conan O'Brien disaster this time: Leno's on board …

•  … though it took some feather-smoothing by network executives.

•  The news may say as much about "Saturday Night Live" creator Lorne Michaels' power-base at NBC as Jimmy Fallon's promise; Michaels will produce the new show.

•  Still, NBC is for some reason promoting the idea that Jimmy's the one behind moving it back here from Burbank, even while promoting the idea Fallon was trying to keep his head down and his mouth shut while the whole thing played out.

•  An early favorite to succeed Fallon on his show: Seth Meyers.

On Capital …

How papers around New York State played the Smith-Halloran scandal [Azi Paybarah]

Changes afoot in 'New York Times' European bureaus [Joe Pompeo]

Extra! Print newspaper reports politicians' arrest before it happens [Tom McGeveran]

Everywhere else ...

A must-read: "The Rise and Fall of the L.A. Examiner, a Blog That Was a Newspaper That Never Existed." [Ken Layne/The Awl]

The lesson of paywalls and meters, according to one view: "Old people will pay anything to maintain their newspaper habit." [Michael Wolff/The Guardian]

Rupert Murdoch mulls a sale of the old Ottaway chain of local papers he acquired with his purchase of Dow Jones/Wall Street Journal. [Keach Hagey, WSJ.com]

Dragging down Fox News' dominance last month: Greta van Susteren, Sean Hannity … [The Huffington Post]

… while the debut of Chris Hayes' new primetime show got some promising numbers. [TVNewser]

With the nominations out, a controversial tweak to the "Profile Writing" category in the National Magazine Awards … continues to be controversial. [Keith Kelly/New York Post]

Who wants to run ad sales at The New York Times? Anyone? [Peter Kafka/AllThingsD]

Roger Ebert, whose self-initiated embrace of digital media (and his audience there) kept him alive to readers—in fact, made him much more influential with many more of them—after an illness that might have ended other careers, is both taking it easy and expanding his web offerings and taking on new writers, after some new bad health news. [Roger Ebert/Chicago Sun Times]

Henry Blodget jumps on the Nick Denton bandwagon, destination: India. [TechCruch]

Quote …

Employees with lots of Twitter followers are valuable to publications, obviously. Employees who know how to tweet are as well. Sharing in general is valuable. It's also interesting that a number of employees show up near the top of mastheads who barely tweet at all. They're bringing other value, presumably. The outlook would be a lot more disturbing if 100% of employees were tweeting work-related content regularly. That some aren't means that we don't yet live in a world where work performance on your "personal" twitter is mandatory, and that's a good thing.
      —Choire Sicha, writing in The Awl

On Twitter …

From our Inbox ...

Condé Nast Media Group names new president; Louis Cona is former publisher of Vanity Fair, The New Yorker. Press release:

LOUIS CONA NAMED PRESIDENT OF THE CONDÉ NAST MEDIA GROUP AND CHIEF REVENUE OFFICER

New York, NY, April 3, 2013 — Louis Cona has been named president of the Condé Nast Media Group and chief revenue officer, it was announced today by Charles H. Townsend, chief executive officer of Condé Nast. Mr. Cona has been the Company’s chief marketing officer for the past three years.

In this role, Mr. Cona is responsible for leading all revenue generation at the corporate level including advertising and marketing solutions across all of Condé Nast’s platforms.

“This new appointment reflects Lou’s success in growing ad revenue and evolving our advertiser relationships into more diversified, strategic partnerships,” said Mr. Townsend.

“Lou’s idea-driven client approach is truly unique in the industry,” added Bob Sauerberg, president of Condé Nast. “His ability to create meaningful relationships to promote clients’ marketing objectives is unparalleled.”

Since joining the Condé Nast Media Group in 2008, Mr. Cona has transformed the corporate sales group into a multi-disciplined organization. The media group delivers an expanding collection of assets to our clients and positions Condé Nast as a leader in innovation and quality marketing solutions.

Mr. Cona’s early career at Condé Nast includes four years as vice president and publisher of Vanity Fair and two years as vice president and publisher of The New Yorker.

Condé Nast is home to some of the world’s most celebrated media brands. In the United States, Condé Nast publishes 18 consumer magazines, four business-to-business publications, 27 websites, and more than 50 apps for mobile and tablet devices, all of which define excellence in their categories. The company also owns Fairchild Fashion Media (FFM), whose portfolio of brands serves as the leading source of news and analysis for the global fashion community. Condé Nast has won more National Magazine Awards over the past ten years than all of its competitors combined. For more information, visit condenast.com or follow us on Twitter @CondeNastCorp.

Atlantic Media's James Bennet announces veteran editor, writer and culture maven Ann Hulbert as the magazine's new Books and Culture Editor. His email to staff today:

From: James Bennet
Date: Wed, Apr 3, 2013
Subject: Announcing Ann Hulbert
To: Everyone at The Atlantic

All--

We're delighted to announce that Ann Hulbert will be joining The Atlantic as our new Books and Culture Editor.

Ann has deep and impressive experience tilling books and culture terrain, in print and online. After graduate school, she started her magazine career at The New Republic, where she worked for sixteen years, most of them as a senior editor, focusing on the back of the book. (Her first job there was as assistant literary editor under Jack Beatty, who would go on to serve for fifteen years as The Atlantic's books editor.) Ann began writing for Slate at its founding, and over the past decade served as a consultant on the magazine's cultural coverage and then as its literary editor. (There she worked closely with, among others, Kate Julian, who can attest to what a wonderful colleague Ann is.)

Ann is also an accomplished writer. For a time, she wrote Slate's "Sandbox" column, about parenting and education. She has been a contributing writer at The New York Times Magazine, writing cover stories and contributing to that publication's old "Way We Live Now" column. She has also written for a wide range of other publications, including The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Book Review, Harper's, and the TLS. And she is the author of two acclaimed books. Her first, The Interior Castle, was a biography of the short story writer and novelist Jean Stafford. Her second was Raising America: Experts, Parents, and a Century of Advice About Children. (She's now finishing a third book, about child prodigies.)

At the moment, Ann is a Spencer Fellow at the Columbia Journalism School, where she is studying community college reform. She will be joining us in Washington full time when her fellowship ends in June, but will start pitching in occasionally before then. She will be assigning books pieces for the magazine, beefing up The Culture File with essays on various subjects, and working with us to re-envision and expand our digital coverage of books.

We’ll welcome her properly when she actually arrives, but wanted to share the good news in the meantime.

James, Scott, and Bob

Here's that NBC "Tonight Show" memo, notable for covering every conceivable base left vulnerable the last time the network tried to replace Leno:

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. – April 3, 2012 – Jay Leno, longtime host of NBC’s “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” announced today that he will wrap up what will be 22 years of headlining the iconic late-night show in Spring 2014. NBC also announced today that Jimmy Fallon, now host of NBC’s “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” will transition into new hosting duties on “The Tonight Show” franchise after Leno concludes his successful run.

As part of the transition, “The Tonight Show” will be returning to its original home in 30 Rock in New York and will be executive-produced by Emmy Award winner Lorne Michaels (“Saturday Night Live,” “30 Rock”). Programming plans for the 12:35 a.m. (ET) time period currently are in development and will be announced soon. Said Leno: “Congratulations Jimmy. I hope you’re as lucky as me and hold on to the job until you’re the old guy. If you need me, I’ll be at the garage.”

Said Fallon: “I’m really excited to host a show that starts today instead of tomorrow.”

“Jay Leno is an entertainment icon, making millions of people laugh every weeknight for more than 20 years,” said Steve Burke, Chief Executive Officer of NBCUniversal. “His long reign as the highest-rated late-night host is a testament to his work ethic and dedication to his viewers and to NBC.

“We are purposefully making this change when Jay is #1, just as Jay replaced Johnny Carson when he was #1. Jimmy Fallon is a unique talent and this is his time. I’m thrilled he will become the sixth host of ‘The Tonight Show’ at exactly the right moment, in conjunction with our coverage of next year’s Winter Olympic Games from Sochi, Russia.

“I also want to congratulate and thank Debbie Vickers and her ‘Tonight Show’ team for producing an entertaining, first-class show every night for the past two decades. Debbie’s role in the creative and popular success of this franchise cannot be overstated.”

Leno has hosted “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” since taking over the reins from television icon Johnny Carson in 1992.

“The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” has ranked #1 ahead of its ABC and CBS time-period competition in 18-49 viewers and total viewers for each season since Leno’s return in March 2010 and for the 14 seasons before his departure in May 2009. During the current season, “Tonight” is consistently #1 versus its ABC and CBS slot rivals, averaging a 0.8 rating, 3 share in adults 18-49 and 3.5 million viewers overall.

At 12:35 a.m. ET, “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” has consistently ranked #1 in 18-49 versus the time period’s ABC and CBS competition each season since debuting in March of 2009 and has also held the advantage over CBS’s “Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson” in total viewers for the last three seasons. So far during the 2012-13 season, “Late Night” is averaging a 0.5 rating, 3 share in adults 18-49 and 1.7 million viewers overall.

Before Leno became the host of the top-rated “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” he honed his comedy in clubs all over the country often exceeding 300 dates per year. He opened for the likes of Tom Jones and John Denver and after moving to Los Angeles began his career in television and film, both writing behind the scenes and making appearances in shows such as “Welcome Back Kotter” and films including “American Hot Wax.” On March 2, 1977, Leno made his first appearance on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” and was named permanent guest host in 1987. While he took over the desk full-time in 1992, Leno never stopped touring on the comedy circuit and still averages over 150 gigs a year.

Emmy and Grammy Award winner, Fallon began his TV career with “Saturday Night Live” in 1998, where he quickly became an audience favorite. Known for his spot-on impressions, innovative musical and comedy sketches and his stint as co-anchor of “Weekend Update” with Tina Fey, Fallon spent six successful years on the show. In March 2009, Fallon returned to NBC and took over the late- night legacy with “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.” The show has continued to garner attention for its viral videos, audience games, A-list guests, and Fallon’s choice of critically acclaimed house-band, The Roots.

In just four years on air, Fallon and the “Late Night” team have already begun collecting awards. Most recently, Fallon was honored with his second consecutive People’s Choice Award for Favorite Late Night Host (2012 and 2013) and the show received the 2012 Critics’ Choice Television Award for Best Talk Show. “Late Night” was celebrated with a 2012 Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Variety Series and earned three Emmy nominations in 2011, including the show’s first nominations in the series and writing categories. The year prior, Fallon earned an Emmy for the show’s website in the Interactive Media category and received the “Webby Person of the Year” Award in 2009. Fallon received a 2013 Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album after releasing “Blow Your Pants Off” in 2012, a musical comedy album featuring song parodies written and performed on “Late Night.”