There are few TV topics I find more exhausting than “late night drama.” Bring back The Magic Hour, that’s what I think. But instead, it’s: this guy’s replacing this other guy, who’s going to take over for someone else when he retires in thirteen years, unless that doesn’t happen because the first guy decides he wants to take over for another guy. There, boom, a half-decade of Letterman/Leno/Conan/Fallon half-true rumors summed up in one sentence.
But life isn’t one sentence (whoa); as Louie taught us, it’s an endless stream of sh*t-talking and gossip, which now includes Jimmy Fallon, a likable guy who appeals to us Youth, taking over for Jay Leno, who’s old and funny looking and have you seen his chin, as the host of The Tonight Show in 2014…unless it doesn’t happen.
Is NBC preparing to announce Jay Leno’s departure from The Tonight Show?
The network says categorically no…
…but two high-level industry sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that NBC is moving toward a May announcement that the 2013-14 television season will be the last for Leno as host of the long-running late-night show. Sources expect the network to move Jimmy Fallon from his Late Night spot into the coveted 11:35 time slot with a soft launch during the summer of 2014 before a formal fall kickoff.
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.
I like being thought of as a pawn in a game amongst rich people in damn fine suits!
Leno’s Tonight still performs well for NBC, regularly besting his late-night rivals. But Kimmel is competitive in the 18-49 demo. “Kimmel has done extremely well,” a network veteran says, adding that he is unaware of any contemplated Leno move. “Jay wins overall, but on any given night, it’s neck-and-neck in 18-49. I understand where they might have fear and also feel that they own the solution [in Fallon.]”
The Crying Cleaning Lady Show, or GTFO.