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Leno Reportedly on the Way Out at ‘Tonight Show’ — and His Replacement Is Ready to Take Over

Mar 4, 2013  •  Post A Comment

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.

6 Comments

  1. C’mon, Jay. It’s past time.
    Take the five days of this week and say Good Bye. Pick your best Lotus and drive into the Sunset.
    Jimmy, Go for it!
    Peter Bright

  2. Didn’t NBC learn anything from the Tonight Show fiasco a few years ago (when Conan O’Brian tried hosting the Tonight Show-and bombed in the ratings)?
    NBC should be more focused on fixing their failing prime time schedule (instead of trying to fix something that’s NOT broke—-NBCs latenight schedule.)

  3. Though I don’t watch either Leno or Letterman regularly, I think J. Fallon would be a worthy replacement for Leno. A young, hip and funny guy with the dead-on ability to mimic singers. Love his act!

  4. This is handing off 11:30 to Kimmel. Jay has a loyal following and wins most nights. Fallon won’t be close, even if he brings all of his current viewers and holds on to half of Jay’s. Being able to mimic singers my dad listened to is not going to bring in the under 30 crowd. If Jay goes, the under 30 that aren’t watching Kimmel will try him and most will not return to NBC. And you better give Jay a huge payout, because he is competitive enough to move over to Kimmel or another show just to beat NBC. Remember how you treated Letterman and what happened.

  5. How about Chelsea Handler as tonight show hostess,she would be solid..

  6. I really believe that the publicists are at work with this one. Or, NBC is trying to shame Jay in to retirement much like his former manager allegedly did to Johnny Carson with planting a “story.” Jay still wins but his show costs way more to produce than Jimmy Fallon’s. The return on investment is no longer what it was with rising costs and diminished advertising dollars.

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