Is television icon Jay Leno on his way out? Though the network answers this question of curiosity with a “no,” there are in fact, two high-level industry sources that are suggesting otherwise.
In an article dated, Fri. Mar. 1, the reliable sources told The Hollywood Reporter that NBC is looking toward a May announcement that Leno’s late-night show journey will end after the 2013-14 television season has aired. If funny guy Leno is set to be moved aside, who will take his place? Sources are expecting that the network will place Jimmy Fallon in the 11:35 time slot by beginning a bit of a summer 2014 launch before the formal fall kickoff.
However, we all know how TV rumors can be. What do Leno’s inside men have to say about this?
“We do not speculate on rumor,” said a Leno rep.
The fact that Leno’s Tonight ratings are still impressive for NBC leaves fans wondering why these questions are even looming.
The Hollywood Reporter goes on to say, ”Sources believe the network will bring in Fallon partly out of concern about the competition on ABC, which moved younger-skewing Jimmy Kimmel to the 11:35 time slot in January. “The more time Jimmy Kimmel is in that slot, the more the young audience goes that way, the harder it is for Jimmy [Fallon] to keep that audience,” says a source familiar with the network’s thinking.”
It is quite possible that since Kimmel is so competitive in the 18-49 range that NBC may have a concern. Though Leno wins overall, that age range competition may be a little too close for comfort.
Back in August, Comcast who owns NBC had announced layoffs at Tonight. Though Leno had a choice of taking a pay cut or watching others be laid off, he chose his own personal large pay cut from his $30 million salary.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, another possible theory is NBC fretting over rival David Letterman’s retirement from CBS in 2014, worrying that his replacement could possibly pose a threat to Leno’s ratings.
What do you think? Is Jay Leno’s TV time up? Do you think Jimmy Fallon would be a good replacement? Who is your favorite late-night comedian?