NBC is reportedly crafting an exit strategy for ‘Tonight Show’ host Jay Leno that will allow them to position Jimmy Fallon in that coveted time slot.
The veteran late night talk show host is under contract until mid-2014 and according to The Hollywood Reporter, it will not be renewed – paving the way for his retirement.
Exec’s at NBC have denied the rumors, opting to announce news of the Leno exit strategy during the third week in May at Upfront 2013, when they reveal their fall primetime schedule.
A similar situation could be occurring behind the scenes at CBS. Their veteran ‘Late Show’ host David Letterman is also up for contract renewal in 2014.
They say timing is everything. If NBC elects to announce the Leno-Fallon transition in May, that would give them the “benefit of selling Jay’s last year — again.”
He left the ‘Tonight Show’ in September 2009, transitioning to a primetime talkie ‘The Jay Leno Show’ that was canceled in January 2010. Amid a major controversy, he returned to his old show, ousting host Conan O’Brien.