Jay Leno Retirement? “Tonight Show” Host Stepping Down in 2014, Sources Say
Is Jay Leno leaving The Tonight Show next year?
The 2013-2014 season may be the last for the comedian, who has hosted NBC’s flagship late night program since 1992. Late Night host Jimmy Fallon is expected to replace Leno by the Summer of 2014, moving to the coveted 11:35 p.m. timeslot, informants tell The Hollywood Reporter.
Rumors about Fallon’s possible transition to The Tonight Show stage first surfaced in December. Public confirmation regarding Leno’s departure is expected to be made in May, at which point Fallon will be announced as his successor.
Sources say the network is making Fallon top banana out of concern with ABC competition, Jimmy Kimmel Live, which moved to 11:35 p.m. timeblock 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.”
The last time NBC tried to get Leno, 62, to relinquish his seat, the Peacock’s primetime lineup saw a shakeup and Conan O’Brien found himself out of a job (albeit temporarily). As The Daily News sums it up:
“…Jay could always be pushed — but he’s proven over the years that he’s harder to kill than Dracula. Take the September 2009 fiasco when then-NBC chief Jeff Zucker carved out a 10 p.m. time slot for The Jay Leno Show because Jay reportedly insisted that he didn’t want to leave the network. Up until that moment, there had been a long-planned transition in the works for Leno to step down from Tonight and pass the torch to O’Brien. But Jay didn’t go away…”
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