Jay Leno goes to Primetime?!

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Jay_l
Jay Leno is coming to primetime TV. NBC is expected to
announce at a news conference on Tuesday that the Tonight Show host, who will
be succeeded by Conan O’Brien next May, has been given a new contract that will
keep him at the network. Though Leno and NBC weren’t commenting tonight, two
separate news reports say the 58-year-old comedian will front a series not unlike
the one he currently headlines, and that it will film in the same Burbank complex
that has long housed the Tonight Show. (O’Brien and his cohorts will beam from
the new NBC/Universal lot in Universal City.) Leno’s new show is expected to air five times weekly sometime before next fall.

The move comes just after Jeff Zucker told a luncheon in New
York City on Monday that the network—which announced staff cuts and a total
reorganization of its structure in recent days—could eventually have to program
fewer hours in its weekly schedule
. It also saves NBC the cost of producing hour-long dramas for the 10 p.m. slot, a problem it’s faced in recent months
with now-canceled series like My Own Worst Enemy and Lipstick Jungle. Most important for
NBC, though, it keeps Leno, a proven ratings earner, in its stable at a time when it
needs him; there was heavy speculation that Leno would be courted by ABC (potentially replacing
Nightline and setting up a three-way battle with O’Brien and David Letterman). It also gives NBC a shot at airing that 21st-century variety format that Rosie O’Donnell tried–and failed–to bring back last month.

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Comments (137 total) Add your comment
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  • RD

    You say Jimmy Fallon but you mean Conan O’Brien will be taking over Jay Leno’s spot.

  • David

    I thought Leno was being replaced by Conan, and Fallon was replacing Conan?

  • anne

    clearly trying to keep him from other networks, especially after other networks became so interested in him. i have to say that i would take letterman and conan over leno any day but i guess the ratings don’t agree with me. also, EW you hace made the same mistake in a couple articles: conan is taking leno’s old timespot and fallon is sliding into conan’s former slot, not fallon going into leno’s spot as has been stated above for example

  • M

    Jay Leno is being replaced by Conan O’Brien for the Tonight Show time slot. Jimmy Fallon will be taking over Conan’s old post.

  • JC

    Conan O’Brien is succeednig Leno. Fallon is taking over Conan’s spot at 12:30.

  • A

    Won’t Jimmy Falon be excited to hear he’s gotten a promotion before he even goes on the air! Conan = the next host of the tonight show

  • LenoFan

    Yeah! I will still be able to watch Leno and tuning out Conan is a no brainer, he is soooo annoying!

  • DanOregon

    Could be the tipping point. I know talk shows already have low standards for guests, but I’m figuring if the formats are consistent, LA network talk shows will have to book 45 guests and 20 musical guests/comedians a week. Even if the rest of NBC’s scripted line up goes 4-actors deep, they’ll still run out of guests in three weeks.

  • mister f

    Kinda makes Conan’s Tonight Show transition feel kind of moot.
    I love Jay and all but with an hour to kill, how is this not going to end up featuring celebrity interviews?

  • DanOregon

    and its not like nobody watches 10 p.m. shows the CSIs Miami and New York are always in the top 15. People just don’t watch NBCs 10 p.m. shows.

  • Carol

    This is wrong on so many levels. First of all, it screws Conan over in a very public way and is basically a repeat of the Letterman debacle. AND they’re asking the public to assist them in screwing Conan over. What was going to be a huge prize has been batted away as an after-thought. Conan will still be following Jay so he stays stagnant and Jimmy Fallon becomes the new Carson Daly. Shame on NBC. Also, it screws over the actors, writers, crews, and producers who would normally provide 10pm programming. Shame, shame, shame on NBC. This positively appalling behavior. I hope that the guests who Leno hopes to book will decline in solidarity with all the people who will no longer have those five hours of programming to put them to work (and I’m talking about the below-the-line people who need that work to pay their insurance). Even if God Almighty comes back to be interviewed on this show, I will not watch. SHAME on them.

  • mary

    Planning to dump 5 hours of network programming in what I assume is a belt tightening measure and inflecting Leno on the primetime public is wrong. After what Leno and his buddies did to Carson to push him off his own show so many years ago, he should bow out gracefully like Johnny did since that is what he wanted originally when the date for Conan’s arrival was set. Sorry he has cold feet now but he needs to leave and do his Vegas act. There is no way this will succeed and garner enough ratings to sustain the flailing net. Remember Rosie who was going to bring variety shows back to tv? NBC is shooting themselves in both feet now.

  • Movie_Dearest

    Just another reason not to watch NBC. Leno is a no-talent, unfunny hack.

  • insider

    Mary, Leno did not ask to step down. NBC prez Jeff Zucker basically made the decision for him. In addition, Jay revered Carson and did not push him out the door. Carson had already made his own decision to leave The Tonight Show.

  • dave

    Hmm…I’m not really sure how I feel about this. It is odd that NBC won’t have scripted programming at 10 anymore, unlike the other major networks. And I do feel kind of bad for Conan because he was supposed to become the lead-in for late night on NBC. Now he’ll just be following up Jay again. But I really do love Jay Leno and I was never ready for him to go in the first place. Only problem is there are a few shows on other channels that I watch at 10, so I may not always be able to catch Leno. What they probably should have done is left everyone on their respective show and time, and gotten Jimmy Fallon to replace Carson Daly, who I think is boring. Then in a few years, when Leno is really ready to give it up, they could move both Conan and Jimmy up. But instead NBC decides to go with 4 late night talk shows in a row (minus the half hour for the local news). A little much.

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