[TV] Jay Leno Leaving The Tonight Show In 2014, Jimmy Fallon Eyed As Replacement
Posted by Joseph Lee on 12.18.2012
Will he really leave this time?
New York Daily News reports that Jay Leno's $15 million per year contract with NBC expires in 2014 and he will be leaving The Tonight Show. It is believed that NBC is eyeing Jimmy Fallon to replace him.
Talent agents have said they have been contacted by NBC officials about trying to find a new late night host to take over Fallon's spot at 12:35. Leno's new contract happened after he volunteered to take a 50% pay cut earlier this year, which helped NBC cut the $100 million budget of the show by 20%.
NBC may be trying to get in on the generational shift towards younger viewers that has been happening in late night television. ABC will be the first next month when they move Jimmy Kimmel's show to 11:35 PM, switching places with Nightline. This is expected to increase the percentage of viewers between the ages of 18 and 49. The show is led by a star 20 years younger than Letterman and Leno.
Over at CBS, David Letterman is also under contract until 2014. There have been rumors for a long time that Leno won't step down until Letterman does.
The last time Leno left The Tonight Show in 2009, then-NBC chief Jeff Zucker gave him his own new show, The Jay Leno Show at 10 PM before The Tonight Show because Leno didn't want to leave. At the time, Conan O'Brien was set to host The Tonight Show. The new program was a flop and hurt O'Brien's ratings, which resulted in Leno getting The Tonight Show back and O'Brien landing his own program on TBS.