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NBC Discussing Jay Leno Exit Plan?

Is NBC preparing to announce Jay Leno's departure from The Tonight Show?

The network says categorically no, but two high-level industry sources tell The Hollywood Reporter [6]that NBC is moving toward a May announcement that the 2013-14 television season will be the last for Leno as host of the long-running late-night show. Sources expect the network to move Jimmy Fallon from his Late Night spot into the coveted 11:35 time slot with a soft launch during the summer of 2014 before a formal fall kickoff.

A Leno rep says, "We do not speculate on rumor." 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.

Sources believe the network will bring in Fallon partly out of concern about the competition on ABC, which moved younger-skewing Jimmy Kimmel to the 11:35 time slot in January. “The more time Jimmy Kimmel is in that slot, the more the young audience goes that way, the harder it is for Jimmy [Fallon] to keep that audience,” says a source familiar with the network’s thinking.

Leno's Tonight still performs well for NBC, regularly besting his late-night rivals. But Kimmel is competitive in the 18-49 demo. "Kimmel has done extremely well," a network veteran says, adding that he is unaware of any contemplated Leno move. "Jay wins overall, but on any given night, it's neck-and-neck in 18-49. I understand where they might have fear and also feel that they own the solution [in Fallon.]"

Comcast, which owns NBC, in August imposed layoffs at Tonight. At the time, Leno took a big pay-cut from his reported $30 million salary.

NBC could also be concerned that if Letterman does retire in 2014, CBS would be looking for a replacement, potentially opening the door to a bare-knuckles battle for Fallon that could mirror a previous tussle involving Conan O’Brien. In 2004, then-NBC head Jeff Zucker promised the then-Late Night host he would inherit The Tonight Show in 2009 as part of his deal to re-up with the network. But when NBC installed O'Brien at Tonight and moved Leno to 10 p.m., the strategy backfired, leading to an embarrassing feud and a costly 2010 settlement with O'Brien, who now hosts a show on TBS.

If NBC elects to announce the Leno-Fallon transition at or before the May upfronts, one observer adds, the network would “get the benefit of selling Jay’s last year -- again.”

by Conanreply 6608/12/2013

Didn't he retire before?

by Conanreply 103/01/2013


by Conanreply 203/01/2013

What is 30 Rock like to work in nowadays? When I was a kid (the eighties) a relative worked there and it seemed like the most exciting place on earth. (Live at 5 , Letterman etc.)

It seemed a little gloomy the last time I was there.

by Conanreply 303/01/2013

Oh, let it be so! He's boring and his humor is so predictable.

by Conanreply 403/01/2013

R4, I KNOW, but so is Mickey Mouse's -- and look how long he's been around.

by Conanreply 503/01/2013

Oh here the fuck we go again.

Get the popcorn, pull up a chair and let's watch how NBC is going to fuck this situation up too.

by Conanreply 603/01/2013

Anyone who has ever been Conaned from their job hopes the worst for Leno.

by Conanreply 703/02/2013

Jimmy Fallon? This is a joke right .............

by Conanreply 803/02/2013

what letterman should do is retire as well in may, on the same day & beT him

by Conanreply 903/02/2013

He's like Rasputin. It will take six or seven tries to finally kill him.

by Conanreply 1003/02/2013

His ratings are in the toilet. He's s Right wing slob too.

by Conanreply 1103/02/2013

I think Letterman should say he's retiring too only to not retire when the time comes. It can be a gag. CBS can run promos. His audience can be in on the joke.

by Conanreply 1203/02/2013

I can't quantify this, but it looks to me like Leno is really having trouble booking top tier guests these days.

I usually glance at the online guide to see who everyone has for guests, and it looks like the A List goes to Kimmel first, especially the younger stars.

by Conanreply 1303/02/2013

Do they plan on announching the date of when they beg him to come back again?

by Conanreply 1403/02/2013

They probably want Fallon to compete with Kimmel.

Because let's face it, these guys are the new Leno vs Letterman. Both will probably be in their chairs for years to come.

Leno is looking as colorless and haggard as he's always been, and while Letterman still has his moments, he's really close to retiring.

by Conanreply 1503/02/2013

I don't think Letterman will retire next year. CBS doesn't have anyone else lined up, certainly not Craig Ferguson. They'll offer Letterman a lot of money to stay for a few more years while they find someone to groom and take his place.

by Conanreply 1603/02/2013

NBC came in fifth (behind Univision!) in the last sweeps. The Tonight Show is about number 192 on their list of problems. I doubt that even NBC is dumb enough to fuck with a show that's still number one and making money.

Of course a case could be made that they are that stupid and that's exactly why they're 5th.

by Conanreply 1703/02/2013

NBC has Fallon in the wings, and 6 months ago I would have said Craig Ferguson was waiting to take over from Letterman. Trouble is, Ferguson has been phoning it in for months now ever since he started wasting half his show playing with that stupid robot prop.

Who does CBS get? Jon Stewart? Colbert?

by Conanreply 1803/02/2013

I doubt Ferguson wants Letterman's slot. He likes being the late late show. He gets to be quirky and book the guests he wants. I like him (though agree his comic bits are a bit tired lately) - and lawd knows he's the only host that regularly books literary figures and people who aren't just selling a movie.

If Letterman did leave, it would pose a question as to who could take his place. Anderson Cooper and Neil Patrick Harris come to mind. Colbert and Stewart too, though they have a pretty cozy gig where they are.

by Conanreply 1903/02/2013

From day one (in 1992) when Leno first took over the Tonight Show, he had a clause in his contract stating that NO ONE be allowed to guest host.

If he was on vacation or sick, a repeat with him would have to be substituted.

As a result, there was never anyone familiar with the Tonight Show audience that could take over in a smooth transition.

Which is why the audience was a bit cold to Conan. It wasn't that they didn't like him. They just didn't know him.

NBC should have stuck with Conan and given him time to develop his audience.

by Conanreply 2003/02/2013

I loathe him more than Carson, who was a homophobic twit, too.

by Conanreply 2103/02/2013

[quote]I like him (though agree his comic bits are a bit tired lately) - and lawd knows he's the only host that regularly books literary figures and people who aren't just selling a movie.

Agreed. I think the last half of his show is one of the best 30 minutes on television. It's just that you have to endure the boredom of the first half to get there.

by Conanreply 2203/02/2013

It has its moments, R22. I love Sid the Cussing Rabbit. The ideas and jokes are funny sometimes, but he takes a 2 minute idea and stretches it to 6.

I can't fathom Leno's popularity - never have, never will.

by Conanreply 2303/02/2013

NBC could use some help in prime time. How about putting Leno there?

by Conanreply 2403/02/2013

[quote]At the time, Leno took a big pay-cut from his reported $30 million salary.

Was that per year???

Jesus Christ. I know lame jokes that would go over well with flyover! Pick me!

by Conanreply 2503/02/2013

Um, didn't this just happen and wasn't it a huge debacle for NBC? Are they really this stupid? This network just needs to go off the air already.

by Conanreply 2603/02/2013

"And I Am Telling You .... Iiiiiiiiiiiiii'm NOT goin'...."

by Conanreply 2703/02/2013

Fallon is on the rise. Moving Kimmel to 11:30 was the beginning of the end. Tonight Show is not the winner it once was. The ratings have been slipping since Leno came back. It did not get the post Conan boost that people thought it would.

Leno should have agreed to retire when the Conan deal initally went to paper. He would have left with dignity and gone out on top. I've said it before, the only way he is leaving that chair is if NBC pries his ass off of it. And that's kind of sad for someone who is a multimillionaire. But in a way, it's karma given what he helped do to Carson.

by Conanreply 2803/02/2013

I remember when Carson was leaving -- I could not believe that Jay Leno would be taking his place.

The dude ain't funny!

Who did he blow to get the gig?

by Conanreply 2903/02/2013

[quote] Who did he blow to get the gig?

He didn't blow anybody.

He had a barracuda for an agent Helen Kushnick.

Thanks to her, he got the gig

by Conanreply 3003/02/2013

I read that Ferguson has a clause in his contract that guarantees he gets Dave's show when Dave retires. However, I'll be shocked if he actually hosts the Late Show. He barely seems interested in the show he has now, so I can't imagine him wanting the promotion.

Having said that, I love Craig's show and watch it every day. It's fun to watch him do exactly what he wants to do for an hour, wasting time and antagonizing the audience and terrorizing the guests. Once you accept that they're not doing the show for you, but just to make each other laugh, then it's more enjoyable.

by Conanreply 3103/02/2013

[quote] I read that Ferguson has a clause in his contract that guarantees he gets Dave's show when Dave retires

Nobody gets Dave's show because Dave owns his own show.

He gets first right refusal for the time-slot.

by Conanreply 3203/02/2013

Dave owns Craig's show, too, R32, and will continue to do so after he retires. Fun facts!

by Conanreply 3303/02/2013

yeah I know he owns that show as well. But Dave will probably take the title "The Late Show" with him when he exits.

by Conanreply 3403/02/2013

[quote] I remember when Carson was leaving -- I could not believe that Jay Leno would be taking his place.

Then you're an idiot. I hate Leno. I loved David Letterman. But it was pretty obvious to anyone who was paying attention back then that Leno would replace Johnny Carson. Leno had become Carson's permanent substitute host and was often getting higher ratings than when Carson was there. It was obvious that NBC was grooming Leno to take over. NBC's decision to choose Leno over Letterman was never the big shock that some people made it out to be.

by Conanreply 3503/02/2013

Thank you r35, then I am an idiot. I did not see it coming.

by Conanreply 3603/02/2013

NBC didn't even consult or think that Letterman was even interested.

It was only AFTER the fact that Letterman let it be known that he wanted the slot.

Up until that time NBC thought Letterman would be content with staying at 12:30

by Conanreply 3703/02/2013

Jay Leno has been speaking out for marriage equality for YEARS, so he's okay in my book.

When the California homophobes were pushing Prop 8, Leno told people to look to his home state where marriage equality was an obvious success. When Schwarzenegger was a guest on his show, Leno told the California governor that Massachuttes serves as a model for granting rights to gays.

by Conanreply 3803/02/2013

R38 this is Hollywood

If he wants any A+ guests on his show, he would be an idiot not speaking out for marriage equality.

If he was against or even silent on the issue, he'd have no guests.

by Conanreply 3903/02/2013

It's amazing how much fuss people still make over these late-night talk shows, which are a relic from the pre-Internet era (when being a guest on one of these shows was the only way to promote something). The younger demographic doesn't give a shit about any of these shows. If they're watching late-night TV at all, they're watching The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. "Dave vs. Jay" may still be a hot topic on DL, but most of the world stopped caring after 1996. When Jay and Dave retire, the networks should start over and develop a whole new type of show.

by Conanreply 4003/02/2013

I think Conan's brand of humor didn't relate well to the 11:30 PM Jay Leno audience. I don't think Fallon's will either.

by Conanreply 4103/02/2013

[quote]If he was against or even silent on the issue, he'd have no guests.

That's really pathetic. What are you smoking today?

He's in Hollywood! Anyone pushing their latest film wouldn't give a damn if he had been silent on the topic. Their only interest is getting on camera to promote their work.

by Conanreply 4203/02/2013





UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. – February 28, 2013 – NBC’s “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” has finished #1 in viewers 18-49 and total viewers versus CBS's "Late Show with David Letterman" and ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live" for the week of February 18-22. Note that "Tonight" and "Late Show" both rounded to a 0.8 rating in adults 18-49 while Jay delivered the bigger audience in that category.

At 12:35 a.m. ET, "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" generated bigger audiences than CBS's "Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" and ABC's "Nightline" in 18-49 and total viewers, with Friday's "Late Night" appearance by First Lady Michelle Obama generating Jimmy's biggest 18-49 audience (888,000) for any night of the week since Thanksgiving night (when NBC Sports covered NFL football in primetime). In total viewers, last Friday’s "Late Night" attracted 2.384 million, the show's biggest audience for any night of the week since Friday, July 27, 2012 (the night NBC covered the Opening Ceremony of the London Olympics).

For the week, Jimmy delivered his biggest 18-49 audience (681,000) in seven weeks (since December 31, 2012-January 4, 2013) and biggest overall audience (1.751 million) in three weeks (since January 28-February 1).

For their head-to-head half-hour from 12:30-1 a.m. ET last week, "Late Night" delivered bigger audiences than ABC's "Nightline" in all key categories: adults, men and women 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54, plus total viewers.

Jay has now delivered bigger 18-49 audiences than "Late Show" for the last 14 weeks in a row and topped "Kimmel" for six of their seven head-to-head weeks. In total viewers, Jay has out-delivered "Late Show" for 18 weeks in a row and "Kimmel" for seven of seven weeks.

Jimmy Fallon has now generated bigger 18-49 audiences than "Late Late Show" for the last 20 weeks in a row and prevailed in total viewers for 17 of the last 18 weeks. Versus "Nightline" in their head-to-head half-hour, Jimmy has out-delivered the ABC series for seven weeks in a row in viewers 18-49 and four weeks in a row in total viewers.


(According to in-home viewing figures from Nielsen Media Research for the week of February 18-22. Ratings reflect “live plus same day” data from Nielsen Media Research unless otherwise noted. Season-to-date figures are averages of “live plus seven day” data except for the two most recent weeks, which are “live plus same day.”)

ADULTS 18-49

11:35 p.m.-12:35 a.m. ET

NBC “Tonight,” 0.8 rating, 3 share

CBS “Late Show,” 0.8/3

ABC “Kimmel,” 0.7/3

12:35-1:05 a.m. ET

ABC “Nightline,” 0.4/2*

12:35-1:35 a.m. ET

NBC “Late Night,” 0.5/3

CBS “Late Late Show,” 0.4/3

1:35-2:05 a.m. ET

NBC “Last Call,” 0.3/2*


11:35 p.m.-12:35 a.m. ET

NBC “Tonight,” 3.5 million viewers

CBS “Late Show,” 3.3 million viewers

ABC “Kimmel,” 2.5 million viewers

12:35-1:05 a.m. ET

ABC “Nightline,” 1.5 million viewers*

12:35-1:35 a.m. ET

NBC “Late Night,” 1.8 million viewers

CBS “Late Late Show,” 1.6 million viewers

1:35-2:05 a.m. ET

NBC “Last Call,” 1.0 million viewers*

* Monday's "Nightline" is excluded from these averages. Friday's "Last Call" was an encore.


ADULTS 18-49

11:35 p.m.-12:35 a.m. ET

NBC “Tonight,” 0.8 rating, 3 share

CBS “Late Show,” 0.7/3

ABC “Kimmel,” 0.8/3**

12:35-1:05 a.m. ET

ABC “Nightline,” 0.4/2**

12:35-1:35 a.m. ET

NBC “Late Night,” 0.5/3

CBS “Late Late Show,” 0.4/2

1:35-2:05 a.m. ET

NBC “Last Call,” 0.3/2


11:35 p.m.-12:35 a.m. ET

NBC “Tonight,” 3.6 million viewers

CBS “Late Show,” 3.1 million view

by Conanreply 4303/02/2013

I doubt Colbert or Stewart would want a network show. They get great audiences and more freedom on cable in the guise of parody news. The guests are a lot more interesting, too. Moving to network TV would mean building a show from scratch around either one of them.

by Conanreply 4403/02/2013

I don't think NBC will make a move right now. The Tonight Show is still No.1. Pretty soon it will be the only money maker for NBC.

The Today Show was the number one money maker and The Tonight Show was the second. Now, that the Today show is sinking even below Good Day NY, NBC probably will not rock the boat at The Tonight Show.

Plus, Jay gave up $15 million of his $30 million yearly salary to safe many of the employees of his show, he is a bargain for NBC.

Leno is old and he will need to retire soon, but probably not next year.

by Conanreply 4503/02/2013

And Stewart frequently does 0.7 and 0.8s - equal to or just a fraction behind the networks. There's no upside in moving for him.

by Conanreply 4603/02/2013

[quote]NBC has Fallon in the wings

I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. Greenblatt!

by Conanreply 4703/02/2013

If they move Fallon up an hour and call it the Tonight Show they need to keep him in NYC. The city is a part of his show.

by Conanreply 4803/02/2013

I've always heard Leno banks all his Tonight Show salary and lives off his personal appearance gigs. That has to be a large fortune by now.

He has one of the most extensive car collections in the world. Cars are his passion. I think he owns more Duesenbergs than anyone else, and has several steam powered autos.

I will always resent Jay and his business manager hastening Carson's departure. Johnny could have easily done 3 or 4 more years. No one was more topical than Carson. And how ironic Jay would forbid guest hosts.

by Conanreply 4903/02/2013

It's déjà vu all over again.

by Conanreply 5003/02/2013

I cant believe people care about this either.

Young people watch Chelsea Handler if they even watch late night TV.

by Conanreply 5103/02/2013

I agree with R45

by Conanreply 5203/02/2013

Leno is so tired and awful. They should have stuck with it and dumped him - with no 10pm show - when they had the chance. But of course, being NBC, they fuck everything up.

by Conanreply 5303/02/2013

When was NBC last relevant....Friends? Will and Grace?

1994 or 2000?

by Conanreply 5403/02/2013

Why is it that all of the late night hosts in America are smug, unfunny, straight white guys? The only bearable one is Jimmy Fallon. Letterman is an asshole, Leno is lame and unfunny, Conan is weird, and Kimmel is so fucking smug I can't stand him.

The hosts on European late night shows are WAY better than what we have in America.

by Conanreply 5503/02/2013

[quote]They should have stuck with it and dumped him - with no 10pm show - when they had the chance.

Exactly. That's a brilliant idea, r53, especially since his Tonight show is in 94th place.

Oh, wait!...

by Conanreply 5603/02/2013

[quote]Conan is weird.

I'm not a big fan of Late Night/Talk Show TV, but I would occasionally stay up to see Conan when he was still on NBC (I liked "In the Year 2000").

Eventually I would end up turning it off a couple of minutes later, wondering what he must be like at home. I didn't think I'd want to be married to him, or be one of his kids. Because he's weird. I didn't want to think about it, so I had to turn it off.

by Conanreply 5703/02/2013

Conan was always Harvard Lampoon TV -- it's an acquired taste, for sure -- but had he had more time with The Tonight Show and been persuaded to grow a little, he would have been fine.

by Conanreply 5803/02/2013

In high school I would stay up late to watch Conan, occasionally Ferguson when he had guests I liked. I think the Ferguson would keep Letterman's audience and build upon it with a younger demographic. He's funnier than Kimmel and Fallon too.

by Conanreply 5903/02/2013

Conan was way too old for the type of humor and audience he was going for. If had been more open to that fact he probably would have kept the Tonight Show. Conan blamed others when he should have blamed himself.

by Conanreply 6003/02/2013

[quote]but had he had more time with The Tonight Show and been persuaded to grow a little, he would have been fine.

He didn't know how to grow. The final year of his show was barely different from the year he started that show. The masturbating bear was probably funny the first thousand times it was on. "In the Year 2000" had some clever touches the first 800 times he did it.

by Conanreply 6103/02/2013

Now reports are saying NBC wants Howard Stern to take over for Jimmy Fallon:

by Conanreply 6203/06/2013

What are the demographics for these shows? I can't imagine anyone under 60 watches Leno

by Conanreply 6303/06/2013

Shove some money in his slot and out comes a joke.

by Conanreply 6403/06/2013

He seems to be getting really fat lately.

Also, why does he ALWAYS wear that stupid denim shirt when he's not working? Does he have like 50 of the same shirt or something?

by Conanreply 6508/12/2013

How about a trap-door, just open and no more Leno.

by Conanreply 6608/12/2013
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