5:19 pm - 12/17/2012

Jimmy Fallon To Replace Jay Leno As 'Tonight Show' Host In 2014?

Somewhere Conan O’Brien is probably smiling. There’s word that NBC brass are ruminating over Jay Leno’s future — which would involve finally giving their current late-late guy comic, Jimmy Fallon, the coveted job as the host of "The Tonight Show."

The latest rumblings about Leno come from various talent agents who admit they have quietly been contacted by NBC officials hoping to find a new late-late host who will eventually take over Fallon’s 12:35 a.m. time slot.

Leno’s current $15 million a year deal expires in 2014, and came about after he “volunteered” to take a 50% pay cut earlier this year, a move that helped NBC slash "The Tonight Show’s" $100 million budget by about 20%.

But my money is on how NBC brass are betting it’s high time they cash in on a generational shift toward younger viewers that has been going on in late-night television for some time.

ABC will be the first to capitalize on the shift next month when their own late-late guy, Jimmy Kimmel, moves his show to 11:35 p.m., switching places with “Nightline” in a bid to boost the network’s percentage of viewers between the ages of 18 and 49 — a group prized by advertisers.

It doesn’t hurt at all that “Jimmy Kimmel Live” is an entertainment program headed by a star 20 years younger than his new time slot rivals, Letterman and Leno.

Meanwhile, at CBS, Leno’s nemesis, David Letterman, is also under contract until 2014, and there has been a long unsaid understanding throughout the TV industry that Leno won’t step down until Dave does.

Of course, as these rumblings may prove, 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.

Instead his prime-time show turned out to be a flop, and worse, it shifted the spotlight away from O’Brien’s debut and cannibalized “Tonight Show" viewers.

By January, Leno was back on "The Tonight Show" and O’Brien was out of a job — although he was paid millions to leave the network — eventually landing another late-night talk show on TBS.

Maybe this time Leno will just quietly go away.

I’m betting he won’t.


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yurasama_love 17th-Dec-2012 10:22 pm (UTC)
Wow, Jimmy is so not ready for that.
megzzy 17th-Dec-2012 10:24 pm (UTC)
I adore Jimmy but as of right now he's much better suited to Late Night.
kamikashi 17th-Dec-2012 10:37 pm (UTC)
way too soon for jimmy. it would be a bit sad if conan had to wait like 15 years to get his dream job (and then ripped away), but jimmy would get it in 5.
yurasama_love 17th-Dec-2012 10:39 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it would be sad and ridiculous. They should have given Conan a full year before pulling the plug on him. He needed to find his stride.
fred2265 17th-Dec-2012 11:15 pm (UTC)
beatlesluv 18th-Dec-2012 12:32 am (UTC)
I love him but I agree he's not there yet. There is a certain status quo that has to be satisfied in the job and he's just too playful and loving - not enough edge yet.
bodyline 17th-Dec-2012 10:23 pm (UTC)
FALLON >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> LENO
beatlesluv 18th-Dec-2012 12:33 am (UTC)
I prefer him too 6_^
tankmachine 17th-Dec-2012 10:23 pm (UTC)

keep him on Late Night
la_sikka 17th-Dec-2012 10:23 pm (UTC)
this is clearly a trap.
pindycindy 17th-Dec-2012 11:14 pm (UTC)
came in here to say "this"
donnanoble 17th-Dec-2012 11:18 pm (UTC)
mjspice 18th-Dec-2012 03:50 pm (UTC)
Seems like it.
ectypes 17th-Dec-2012 10:24 pm (UTC)
what kind of HH ratings does leno get these days?
aglows 17th-Dec-2012 10:24 pm (UTC)
I don't know how I feel about this! As long as he keeps the same format... I will be happy!
dwn_in_brktown 17th-Dec-2012 10:25 pm (UTC)
haha right. Fallon should definitely not let history repeat itself and say where he is until he's 10000% sure Leno will for real be gone.

Hopefully he saw what happened to Conan and is like no thank you.
muzicnem 17th-Dec-2012 10:57 pm (UTC)
Fallon should definitely not let history repeat itself and say where he is until he's 10000% sure Leno will for real be gone.


nymphadoratonks 17th-Dec-2012 10:25 pm (UTC)
jay leno will never let that happen.
ljubavirakija 17th-Dec-2012 10:25 pm (UTC)
A little too late, NBC.

Plus, I like where Jimmy is scheduled now.

And, we need more females hosting late night programs.
aprilbegins 17th-Dec-2012 10:26 pm (UTC)
Ugh, 2014 is much too far away. I'm glad there's a safe distance between me and that chin rn

But Fallon's show is delightful and would easily adapt to the earlier time slot, I think
anna_bea2 17th-Dec-2012 10:26 pm (UTC)
lawd...he has said that he likes his current timeslot and that he's not really interested, but idk. Be careful, Jimmy.

Edited at 2012-12-17 10:30 pm (UTC)
littlehayzay 17th-Dec-2012 11:31 pm (UTC)
omg he looks like demi lovato's older sister or sth
mend 17th-Dec-2012 10:27 pm (UTC)
gurl, stay far away from that
theladyflash 17th-Dec-2012 10:28 pm (UTC)
And then Leno will come back and Jimmy will be out of a job? No thank you.
theladyflash 17th-Dec-2012 10:29 pm (UTC)
Also, I love that MuchMoreMusic runs Jimmy now at 10pm every weeknight so my old tired ass doesn't have to stay up so long.
flyingpigs_live 17th-Dec-2012 10:29 pm (UTC)
fabouluz 17th-Dec-2012 10:29 pm (UTC)
Eh, it would be a great job but Jimmy isn't ready for that just yet. He's too antsy and young.
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