Fallon on the Hook to Host “Tonight Show” in Chicago After Kids Surpass Reading Challenge

"It’s time to pick a venue, Jimmy!" mayor says in statement announcing he'd won wager

Fans of "The Tonight Show" can thank Chicago school children for this news: Jimmy Fallon and his crew are on the hook for bringing the show to The Second City for the first time in more than a decade.

"It’s time to pick a venue, Jimmy!" Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a written statement released late Sunday. "We have plenty of places in Chicago that would be perfect for your show."

Emanuel's office announced the city's children read a record-breaking 2.7 million books as part of the "Rahm's Readers Summer Learning Challenge."

Fallon hesitantly agreed to a little wager with Emanuel when the mayor was on the show in June, promising to bring "The Tonight Show" back to Chicago if children managed to read 2.4 million books over the summer.

More than 83,000 kids surpassed the goal, reading about 66 million minutes, a release from the mayor's office said.

Emanuel's June appearance on the show followed a Twitter challenge that brought Fallon to Chicago to take a March dip into Lake Michigan to raise money for Special Olympics. 

Fallon described his own brush with hypothermia in the lake's icy waters as something akin to a near-death experience. "I heard bagpipes," he said. "When you're Irish, that's what you hear when you die."

"You know what the difference is? I heard 'Hava Nagila,'" Chicago's first Jewish mayor returned.

There was no information Monday morning as to when Fallon would host the show in Chicago.

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