Jay Leno Staying with NBC
Tue, 09 Dec 2008 11:10:00
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The late night wars just got a little more interesting. Longtime The Tonight Show With Jay Leno host Jay Leno will remain at NBC, despite telling USA Today earlier this year that he was permanently done with the Peacock network. However, after negotiations, the network is expected to announce today that Leno will take over the 10:00 PM weeknight slot beginning in fall of 2009.
Leno has won the late night ratings battle consistently for many years, and NBC did not want to lose the star when he decided to step down from his Tonight Show post. Conan O'Brien is scheduled to take over the The Tonight Show hosting job, leaving his Late Night With Conan O'Brien gig. The network feared that when O'Brien took over, Leno would take a competing job in the same time slot and would go head-to-head with his successor and subsequently beat him in the ratings. This move allows the Leno to be an audience lead-in for O'Brien. Leno has gone on air to publicly admit that he regretted his decision to leave the show and was ultimately unhappy about giving up his seat to O'Brien.
In his new time slot, Leno will be hosting a similar show in the same Burbank studio, as producers are building a new studio for O'Brien. Much like with The Tonight Show, NBC will own the new Leno show, as well.
—The ARTISTdirect Staff