As part of its Jay Leno-Jimmy Fallon announcement today, NBC confirmed that The Tonight Show will return to New York, where the veteran late-night show originated. In addition to the symbolism of the move, it would mean a windfall for New York, which has been lobbying hard to lure Tonight back to the Big Apple 40 years after the show relocated to Burbank. The wooing including slipping a provision in the proposed NY state budget clearly written with The Tonight Show that would reimburse up to 30% of the talk show’s production costs. The efforts payed off, and today New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg issued a jubilant statement welcoming Tonight to the city. “We’re thrilled The Tonight Show is returning home to New York City, and it’s the perfect symbol of incredible comeback we’ve worked to create in our city’s film and television industry,” he said. “The Tonight Show will bring even more jobs and economic activity to our city — and we couldn’t be happier that one of New York’s own is bringing the show back to where it started — and where it belongs.”
While New York officials are popping the champagne over the news, the mood is subdued in the halls of the Burbank mayoral office. Burbank Mayor Dave Golonski recently threatened to go on a hunger strike in protest of a Tonight Show move. Golonski is yet to comment on today’s official announcement, but Drew Sugars, City of Burbank Public Information Officer, told Deadline: “It’s an institution here and its more about tradition than the economics,” he said of the show. “Even with the Tonight Show leaving we consider ourselves the Media Capitol of the world with lots of big companies here. We’re sad to see the show go. We also want thank Jay Leno for his years here and his support of Burbank. You see him driving around and he’s been a great citizen and supporter of the city”.
Dominic Patten contributed to this report.