Jay Leno: What’s Next for the ‘Tonight Show’ Host?

    January 1, 2014
    Kimberly Ripley
    Comments are off for this post.

Jay Leno will soon hand over the Tonight Show reins to Jimmy Fallon. What will the late night talk show icon and comedian do once his long-running stint is finally done? Recent reports say CNN’s Jeff Zucker might have his sights set on the popular late night host. Zucker recently visited Jay in Burbank, entertaining the idea of a late night show on CNN.

In addition to Jeff Zucker, Jay Leno is being pursued by at least 10 additional media outlets. Those options include Core Media Group (they produce American Idol), Tribune, and former NBC chief Jeff Gaspin. Even NBC entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt is making a very strong pitch to keep Jay right at home on NBC in a new unmentioned capacity.

“Nothing would make me happier than to find ways to keep him involved with this network. That’s really up to him,” Greenblatt says.

Ken Ziffren is Jay’s only representation. Leno and Ziffren both insist no decision will be made until after he bids adieu to The Tonight Show. That happens on February 6th.

Jay Leno still does an average of 100 live stand-up comedy gigs per year. Might he want to return to a career that’s solely on the road? That doesn’t seem likely at 63. What do you see Jay doing when he leaves The Tonight Show? And while Jimmy Fallon will no doubt make the perfect host for taking over the show, it’s almost unfathomable to think of late night TV without Jay Leno somewhere in the mix.

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  • linda wright

    I am sorry to see Jay Leno leave. I have watched the Tonight Show for a long time even when Jonny Carson was host. I am sure when Falon will take over I will not watch as I am Senior and Falon only has show centered for Young Adults. I am sorry the network made this decision.

    • Shelby Madison

      After what Jay Leno did to Conan O’Brien (who I don’t like at all and wasn’t a good fit for the Tonight Show), he deserves to move on to obsurity. He was never Johnny Carson (not even close) and has become old, stale, and increasingly arrogant. Jimmy Fallon has the same easy going, down-to-earth persona Carson had, and will be a huge improvement over Leno. I love that he’ll be bringing the Tonight Show back to New York, where it belongs. Farewell, Jay – Welcome, Jimmy!!!

      • TheUrbanMyth

        it wasn’t leno’s fault what happened to o’brien it was the networks doing

        • Jim Davis

          This whole fiasco started when Conan made it known thru his agent hat he wanted to take Leno’s job away from him. NBC in their usual wisdom agreed to it ; and the rest is KARMA! Conan now plays to less than a quarter of Leno’s audience!

      • Marlowe28

        That was due to O’Brien’s hubris. Leno had nothing to do with it other than not refuse a job that he never wanted to give up in the first place.

        I don’t know how old you are but The Tonight Show began in New York but it has spent about five times as much time on the West Coast.

        As for easygoing and down to earth, Leno is the king. Fallon is talented but he doesn’t know how to interview people and his dumb games are going to annoy adults who aren’t interested in the frenetic experience that Fallon provides.

      • http://Tiahpost.com Ahfi

        Jay did NOTHING wrong. It was the network that messed up. When was the last time you met somebody who said, hey, I’ve been offered a job but someone else can have it? Commonsense, please.

      • Ritchie

        You are an idiot, Good luck with Jimmy and dropping ratings!

    • Chad

      Don’t feel bad… I’m a “young adult” who does not care for Jimmy Fallon. True, he’s not bitter & creepy like Letterman and he doesn’t seem to have a hidden agenda like Kimmel, but Fallon is NO Leno. He’s too immature and juvenile. Leno is simply the best. I can’t wait to see where he goes next!

      • Rosie

        I agree. The SNL bits get old.

  • bakerlady01

    Hope he’s on a late-night show somewhere. Fallon is better than the other late-night hosts (except Jay) but don’t like him either. He is just not often funny. Too much slap-stick.

  • Jim Davis

    Jay Leno BELONGS on Late-night TV! He can count on his viewers being much more loyal than NBC; and success will follow Jay wherever he goes. The last thing that Leno should do would be to sign a ‘token” contract with NBC; which would ONLY serve to keep Jay from being competition on another network or in syndication.

    • Steve

      Jay WENT to 9 pm eastern time and flopped. I don’t think his fans are THAT loyal.

      • Jim Davis

        There is a big difference between Prime Time and Late-night! Leno was competing against totally different types of shows. Leno’s viewer are Late-night at 11;35. I stand by my statement that Leno’s Late-night viewers are very loyal; and if he stays on Late-night it will be interesting to see how many viewers follow him!

      • Michael Walters

        10 pm est

      • http://Tiahpost.com Ahfi

        Yes, because his fans have other stuff to watch at 9PM. Not Jay’s fault; not his fans fault.

  • .

    On the Tonight Show, I have watched Allen, Parr, Carson and Leno. Sorry Conan you just weren’t ready for late night. It is debatable who was the best, Carson or Leno. It is really difficult to choose. (Different era, different times) All were pretty much number one in the ratings. And surprisingly Leno’s rating is number one in the younger demographic of the time slot.

    So here is the question: With Jay Leno’s willingness to continue doing the Tonight Show for another 3-8 years and his popularity in the ratings, WHY IS NBC FIXING SOMETHING THAT ISN’T BROKEN?

    • Lori

      And why are they trying to fix it AGAIN???? They didn’t screw it up enough the last time?

  • http://Webpronews Gary

    n b c is like a & e, run by a bunch of stupid FAGGOTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • bigPP

      You would know.

      • http://Tiahpost.com Ahfi

        Yes, I would know. Ha…ha….ha

  • Floy

    Jay should go on the cohan Obrian show as a guest. But then that would be a waste of jay’s time. Cohan is just not funny.

  • gary

    It is really too bad someone who is as rich as JAY can’t just hang it up and enjoy the rest of the few years of life he has left. I guess for some being in the spotlight is what it’s all about and that is their life’s total focus. If it were me I would just want to take my hard earned money and run and kick back. But that is me. I wish him luck on whatever he decides to do.

    • Reality 101

      You mean it’s somehow better to “retire, shuffle off, and then die” like so many people do when they stop working? Guess what? If you are already doing what you LOVE doing, you ain’t workin’…!

    • Marlowe28

      Who are you to judge? Leno is only sixty-five loves what he does and is very good at it. A lot of people are still working at ninety. There was a 104 year old pediatrician who was still working part-time a few years ago..

      Not everybody can’t wait to stop working

  • Art

    I’ve watched Jay since the beginnings of his show. I like Jimmy Fallon. I’m sure The Tonight Show will lose as many viewers as it gains. Would love to see Jay somewhere else. I’ll miss his “regular” guests and his own brand of comedy.

  • Art

    I’ve watched Jay since the beginnings of his show. I like Jimmy but it’s a totally different show. I’ll miss Jay’s regular guests. I hope to see him somewhere else on a regular basis.

    • bigPP

      Sorry to say. It’s time for Jay to go. He’s got the same boring softball humor that Johnny used to have at this point. I remember thinking back then that Johnny should have left a few years earlier. The network was right when they tried to retire Leno the first time. I’m sure he’s a nice guy but, time for that brand of geriatric humor at the bingo house or Pechanga casino.

      • http://Tiahpost.com Ahfi

        The viewers will decide.

  • L

    ABC must not realize the opportunity here, push Jimmy Kimmel back to his old time slot because most of his jokes are for weed smoking insomniacs. 80% of his jokes aren’t funny, korny if anything. Give Jay the 11:35 p.m. slot. And walah ABC is number #1 in late night. Seth Meyers I don’t think is made to be hosting a late night show. SNL is his style. So Jimmy Kimmel should beat him by a hair in the later ratings.

    Jimmy Fallon and Jay Leno going head to head should be interesting. Jimmy should see a boost in ratings moving to an earlier time slot. I think it’ll be very close but Jay will squeak out to number 1 because of his already established loyal audience.

    Jay will be better off with a more Elite network like ABC. NBC messes with everything that has success but give the things that need attention very little. Who are these guys working at NBC it’s almost as if they WANT to fail. Revolution, Blacklist (I haven’t personally watched but it gets a lot of buzz), and Chicago Fire seem to be the only thing they got going.

    • JeffW

      Kimmel IS THE REASON Jay is leaving. The suits at NBC envisioned Kimmel taking away the entire 18-49 demo (even though Jay still has the highest share of that audience to this day), and thought they better get someone younger in there quick. Many people, old and young will stop watching when Jay goes, a lesson is yet to be learned here by NBC.

  • Dave

    Sorry to see Jay go. As I grow older, I see more and more age discrimination, some subtle and some not so subtle. If Jay was twenty years younger, this change wouldn’t be happening (and for a 2nd time no less). NBC is an ageist network with ageist executives. Ageists, racists and sexists are all the same.

  • gompy

    It is time for Jay Leno to leave and never return. He is old and old school. New and younger blood is needed. Holywood is getting younger and canges, thus the Tonight show has to follow. After Johnny it went down hill. I am happy Leno is leaving. I watch Letterman.

    • Reality 101

      David Letterman is 66 YEARS OLD. Older than Jay. You are a moron.

      • http://Tiahpost.com Ahfi

        People will hate at all cost. They can’t even think.

  • Gwen

    Jay Leno has followed the superior tradition of the Tonight Show hosts that came before him, Johnny Carson, Steve Allen, Jack Paar. But we look forward to seeing him every night.

    Wish we could have gotten tickets to his show. He’s our favorite.

    Jimmy Fallon is a class act. We watch him as well. Its a changing of the guard.

  • Ronald Maas

    I believe that NBC made a bad choice cancelling Neno from the Tonight Show. I for one will not be watching it anymore. Shame on you NBC!

  • Trin

    You have to be kidding me? After reading these comments my brain hurts. What the hell are you talking about? Conan got screwed by the network AND Jay. If Jay would have gracefully stepped down and told NBC he had no interest in returning I don’t see NBC forcing his hand. They would have used him in another capacity like, for instance, his failed early night stint.
    Does everyone just forget that Conan would have still had The Tonight Show if he had agreed to NBC’s terms and moved it to a later time? He didn’t do that did he? Why? To quote Conan

    “Last Thursday, NBC executives told me they intended to move the Tonight Show to 12:05 to accommodate the Jay Leno Show at 11:35. For 60 years the Tonight Show has aired immediately following the late local news. I sincerely believe that delaying the Tonight Show into the next day to accommodate another comedy program will seriously damage what I consider to be the greatest franchise in the history of broadcasting. The Tonight Show at 12:05 simply isn’t the Tonight Show. Also, if I accept this move I will be knocking the Late Night show, which I inherited from David Letterman and passed on to Jimmy Fallon, out of its long-held time slot. That would hurt the other NBC franchise that I love, and it would be unfair to Jimmy.”

    • Jim Davis

      Yes; but its fine to go after Leno’s job in Conan’s 2004 contract negotiations! Leno didn,t want to give up the show in the first place;he was forced by O’Briens greed and NBC’s lack of appreciation of his ratings leadership. Do you really expect Leno to refuse the half hour show; and to hosting the Tonight show? Conan had no problem taking the Tonight Show from Leno yet you and O’Brien both believe Leno owes him and Conan was “entitled”. B.S.

  • John

    Hey Jay. Ever consider FOX? After hat Buck Ofama has put us thru the last 6 years we could certainly use some comedy relief

  • http://att.net robert dimmitt

    I am sooooooo glad to see a guy that almost ruined a good man,,, CONAN O’BRIEN,,, he, jay had to come back because no one would watch him at 10:00 pm ,,, boring… sucked!!! HE should be known as the thief that could !!!! POOR JAY… not !!! good ridience….

  • http://att.net robert dimmitt

    HE is a bastard,, saving HIS CAREER… almost ruining CONAN O’BRIEN’S … WHAT A CROOK!!

  • Domino 70

    NBC and Obrien failed not Jay. Obrien is a clown. He can’t deliver jokes. Jimmy Fallon is the same slapstick. I hope Jay runs from NBC and where ever he goes his fans will follow. Dave Lettermen will finally get to be # 1 till Jay gets back on the air. Jimmy Fallon is a clown and will not and can not fill Leno’s shoes.

  • http://www.showbizdavid.blogspot.com davidcoast

    All very interesting. From Paar (my idol) forward: Even though I don’t stay up that late, I already miss Jay Leno, on balance a classy guy, middle of the road, if only he would allow better writers in and dump the stupid boring stuf like Jay Walking. Letterman and staff are semi-repellent, though David lands some of the best jokes. Craig Killborn (remember him?) was a natural to take over late night, but flaked out. I TRIED to like Conan, but found him amazingly unfunny. Jimmy F. can be funny, but comes off as scattered, unanchored to anything. If Leno stays late night in another slot (or early night, that would be a dream for me), he will likely coninue to hold his natural dominance. And yes to all the rants against the incredibly stupid idiots who run NBC. TV is about ratings, so how can you blame Jay for feeling a righ to continue on as long as he can prove his popularity? I think his fans admire his work ethic; I do.

  • Patricia013

    I hope Leno takes a spot opposite the Tonight Show….why? So he can rip the backside off the Tonight Show ratings! Why change horses in the middle of a race…especially when that horse is winning? The higher ups at NBC need a great big dose of FAILURE!!! Once and for all!

  • Andy

    How many times are these imbeciles “in charge” going to force Steve Allen, Jack Paar and Johnny Carson to roll over in their graves?? Jimmy Fallon the host of the Tonight Show? Dear Mother of GOD!!! This ass kissing clown is beyond lame. How many fake laughs are we going to hear per show now? I guess it just shows that the good ‘ol days are unfortunately the good ‘ol days. RIP the Tonight Show.

  • Lynne

    For someone who grew up with The Tonight Show, I watch it all the time and hate to Jay Leno go. The only time I have not watched it was when Conan was on it. Now that NBC is taking Jay away and putting Jimmy Fallon on it, I am done with that show. Jimmy Fallon is not someone I will sit and watch. THANK YOU Jay Leno for all the laughs you have gave me. I will miss you.

  • Basil R Bhan

    Extremely sad JL is departing. It was THE only TV show around which I planned my nightly activities.

    Tried, but just don’t care for Fallon.
    His sense of humor is korny; his act clown-like. NBC is convinced Young America wants a quick, short laugh without having to chew it down.

    Yes, took some time for JL to establish himself after taking over the spot. On the contrary, despite time under his belt, Fallon has not matured a bit.

    Last, not least, Fallon’s stage looks like a zoo populated by a bunch that is averse to soap and barbers. Without intent of malice, that’s how I feel.

  • jimd

    I love jay Leno. The Tonight Show will not be the same and I intend not to watch Fallon

  • jimd

    I love Jay Leno. I will not be wayching Fallon. He is not Jay leno

  • dorothy powers

    I will not watch jimmy fallon. One snl a week is more than enough.

  • kim downey

    I can't believe that they took # 1 off they are soooo stupid i will absolutely not watch Jay Leno was awesome!!!! Jimmy Fallon is not near as funny!!

  • analei

    i miss jay; i always stayed up late to hear his opening coments; his replacement is just sooooostupid; i never turn it on now;sidney