Jay Leno is leaving NBC’s “Tonight Show”, and the final show date has been set. Conan O’Brien will take over as “Tonight Show’s” host, with Jimmy Fallon stepping into Conan O’Brien’s “Late Night” show as host.
Jay Leno turned up in a disguise on Monday to ask a few silly questions at a news conference, regarding his departure date from NBC’s “Tonight Show”.
Jay Leno put on a bald cap, fake goatee (which only partly disguised his famous chin) and glasses and easily hid among the real reporters to ask the two NBC executives about his own future.
“When is Leno’s last show?” the unnamed reporter (Leno) asked.
Mr. Graboff broke the real news that Mr. Leno’s last night on “The “Tonight Show” would be May 29, 2009, a Friday, with Conan O’Brien taking over the show on the following Monday, June 1.
“Will Leno be paid for the rest of the year?” the reporter (Leno) inquired, perhaps really wanting to know that answer. It was “Of course.”
Leno posing as the fake reporter also asked if NBC had offered a “fifth hour of the “˜Today’ show” to Mr. Leno, perhaps resonating his actual feelings of the “Tonight” host when he noted that Mr. Leno had not received any Emmy nominations for “The Tonight Show” but had gotten one for his show about cars: “Do you think people like him better as a mechanic than a talk-show host?”
Mr. Graboff said later that the idea to pose as a reporter the way Mr. Kimmel had was “all Jay’s idea, obviously.”
Mr. Graboff said Leno had come to the NBC executives after an article appeared in USA Today in which he seemed to be saying angrily that he would be gone from NBC when his contract expired. “I think Jay felt a little bad about it,” Mr. Graboff said. “He wanted to make sure it was clear that this was a cooperative thing. Jay was part of this from the get-go.”
“He did not want to happen to Conan what happened to him in 1992,” Mr. Graboff said, referring to a backlash Mr. Leno experienced when he took over “Tonight” and some in the news media and the public felt he had “taken” the position from David Letterman.
NBC said they will try and have Mr. Leno’s last show on “Tonight” an event “” as long as Mr. Leno wants it that way. “We’ll do whatever we can and whatever Jay wants to give him the proper send-off,” he said.
NBC is refusing to admit that Mr. Leno’s departure is to another network, such as in ABC, in Mr. Kimmel’s nightmare scenario . Mr. Graboff said NBC was continuing to work on ideas with Mr. Leno across all divisions of the company. “We believe in this day and age there’s room for him to be on our air,” he said.
Jimmy Fallon is set to take over the “Late Night” show from Conan O’Brien when he moves up to “Tonight.” The NBC executives did not set a specific date for Mr. Fallon’s first show, though they said it was likely to be in March or April. That would mean Mr. Fallon would get the benefit of the big ratings lead-in from Mr. Leno for a number of weeks before the transition to Mr. O’Brien.
Sad to see Leno leaving, but Conan O’Brien is hilarious, as is Jimmy Fallon. Should make for some interesting late night television.
Jay Leno’s Photo Booth Prank was always funny, see below: