This Jay Leno retirement may be the last. The long-time NBC star’s replacement by Jimmy Fallon on “The Tonight Show” may be in the works for the summer of 2014, reports the Hollywood Reporter on Friday, March 1.
Jay Leno retired once before, but it didn’t stick. Right now, on any given night, says a network source, Leno is still on top. He is the biggest over-all draw. Viewers like his familiar, laid-back style. But Jimmy Kimmel, on ABC, has been pulling in the younger crowd, and that makes television executives nervous. They well may be laying plans for a switch to the younger Jimmy Fallon in the NBC 11:35 p.m. slot, to try and head off any long-term erosion.
Jay Leno’s camp is denying retirement talk is in the works. “We do not speculate on rumors,” said a spokesperson. And celeb-watchers and late-night television fans are generally convinced that Jay Leno does not want to retire before David Letterman, which will stir the funny-man pot even more. It’s all a guessing game, but NBC executives like to be on top of future planning.
Nor do they want to be caught short in another costly mix-up, such as the one that happened when Conan O’Brien was force out to let Leno back in, which led to O’Brien’s moving to TBS.
If NBC makes the expected transition announcement this May, they can enjoy a year-long Jay Leno retirement party – for the second time.