NBC confirmed on Wednesday that it is building a new studio for Jimmy Fallon, host of the network’s “Late Night,” in New York City. The network did not, however, comment on reports that the new studio will become home for a transplanted “The Tonight Show” with Fallon as host.
If Leno’s departure comes to pass, it will be the second time he’s left the show.
In 2009, Conan O’Brien replaced Leno on “The Tonight Show,” but by early 2010—and a failed primetime show—Leno returned to the show and O’Brien was shown the door.
Not before he received a $45 million exit paycheck.
O’Brien eventually wound up on TBS with a late night show of his own.
ABC made a bold move earlier this year by moving “Jimmy Kimmel Live” to the 11:35 p.m. time slot, pitting the show head-to-head against the “The Tonight Show” and CBS’ “Late Night with David Letterman.”
At 38, Fallon, if he replaces Leno, will be the youngest of the 11:35 p.m. time slot talk show hosts, which could lead to attracting the younger viewing audience.
Forgive this viewer for being skeptical of Leno’s departure from “The Tonight Show.”
He’s done it before and has been rumored to be on the chopping block before.
NBC made a mistake in 2010 by restoring Leno and ousting O’Brien, so what makes anyone think that what the network is rumored to be doing will wind up being what actually goes down?
It seems the industry—and its viewership—longs for long-term deals and the stability of the same host being on TV at 11:35 p.m. every night.
Guess what? Those days are gone.
Even if Fallon replaces Leno, how long before he moves on to the greener pastures of higher-paying jobs and creative challenges?
The TV environment is so volatile these days that stars and programs are fleeting and subject to whimsical changes by network execs.
There is, however, one thing that late night viewers can expect when it comes to their beloved talk shows: the unexpected.
The “Tonight Show” airs at 10:35 p.m. on KSL 5 in Provo.