Whoa! With Jay Leno Leaving 'The Tonight Show' Early Next Year, One Report Says He Could Hook Up With His Former Boss, Jeff Zucker, at CNN. Could Today's King of Late-Night Become the Next Larry King? THR, Variety
Here's a wild one. Matthew Belloni and Lacey Rose are reporting in The Hollywood Reporter: "Sources tell THR that CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker -- who, while running NBCUniversal, famously set in motion Leno's first ouster from 'Tonight' by promising the show to Conan O'Brien in 2009 -- is among those who have approached Leno for a late-night or prime-time show on his network."
The story continues: "Zucker recently visited briefly with Leno at NBC in Burbank. Also among the 10 or so outlets courting the comic are Tribune, 'American Idol' producer Core Media Group and even former NBC chief Jeff Gaspin. But Leno, 63, and his lone representative, attorney Ken Ziffren, are said to be refusing to entertain offers until the host fulfills his obligation to NBC on Feb. 6."
But Brian Steinberg in Variety counters, "[M]any people are throwing cold water on this [CNN] idea, and perhaps with good reason. A Leno program on CNN could be hard to float financially. His salary -- cut to $15 million per year in 2012 from $30 million after the comic returned to 11:35 p.m. from NBC’s prime time -- might be hard to justify at a cable network that doesn’t make the bulk of its ad revenue as the clock ticks closer to midnight. (And would fewer appearances garner attention? Once-a-week Leno?)"