Leno Reportedly on the Way Out at 'Tonight Show' -- and His Replacement Is Ready to Take Over THR
NBC reportedly is planning to make an announcement that late-night fixture Jay Leno will exit "The Tonight Show" after the 2013-14 season, with Jimmy Fallon set to replace him, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The announcement is expected in May, the story reports.
Fallon will move into the 11:35 p.m. time slot with a "soft launch" during the summer of 2014, before kicking off formally in the fall, the piece reports.
A representative for Leno said, "We do not speculate on rumor."
The story adds: "Whether the network finally executes the 'Tonight' transition plan remains to be seen. Anyone with even a passing sense of Leno’s personality knows that the hardworking comic would be reluctant to leave his perch, especially before his rival at CBS, David Letterman, announces his retirement. Leno and Letterman are both signed through 2014."
NBC executives, however, have other issues on their minds: They're concerned about competition from ABC, which has shifted Jimmy Kimmel into the 11:35 p.m. time slot, helping that network draw younger audiences.
While "Tonight" with Leno performs well for NBC, Kimmel is competitive among viewers 18-49, the story adds.