Jay Leno, known by many as the face of The Tonight Show, one of the most famous late-night talk shows in the nation, will soon be looking for a new job. Just a few days ago, executives at NBC announced their intentions of not only cutting Leno from his well established place as the host of The Tonight Show, a position he has held since 1992, but that Leno will be replaced with another familiar comedic face. Jimmy Fallon, famous for his work on Saturday Night Live and Light Night with Jimmy Fallon, has been announced to be Jay Leno's replacement as the host of The Tonight Show next year.
Jay Leno has been the host of The Tonight Show since he took the position over for Johnny Carson in 1992. He hosted the show until 2009, when amidst controversy between Leno and Conan O'Brien, Leno was given his own show at a later time slot and O'Brien became the host of The Tonight Show. Ratings suffered during the Conan era of The Tonight Show, and after one year, he was booted from the position and replaced again by Leno. Taking back over the show since 2010, Leno has bounced back and forth in the ratings but has not satisfied NBC enough to keep him on for the foreseeable future.
More interestingly than the switch away from Leno, is the fact that NBC will be moving The Tonight Show from its forty-one year location in California back to New York City when Fallon takes over next year. While this move may not affect the shows quality, many people were surprised to not only hear of Leno's abandonment a second time at the hands of NBC executives, but also that the show was moving away from California after almost a half-century. In addition to the set change, there have been rumors circulating that higher-ups in NBC may be considering moving The Tonight Show back into a ninety minute format. While there has been no official confirmation as to the time switch, it will be interesting to see what other changes NBC will make for Jimmy Fallon once he takes over the esteemed late night franchise.
The question now becomes, what is Jay Leno's plan now? Does he sulk off into a car filled retirement? Or does he find a new network to pick him up and continue on his way in late night television? Wednesday's taping of The Tonight Show showed Leno cracking jokes and poking at the executives at NBC over the decision to cut him from the program. Leno called the NBC decision makers, "Snakes" and made jokes about the network, calling it dead and unimportant to the country. Rumors have sprung up since his insult to the network Wednesday night that Leno and Fox Network are currently discussing deals to bring the late night host to their network. This would not be the first time that Fox has aimed to recruit some late night talent. Fox network also looked to acquire both Jimmy Fallon and Conan O'Brien in the past few years, Jay Leno may just become the crown jewel of the network.
Whether or not Jay Leno continues his career as a heavy-weight in the late night television entertainment bracket is still up in the air. But he does have the rest of The Tonight Show for 2013 to decide how he will portray himself to the public. Continuing to call out his soon to be former network may not paint the greatest image for Leno, but with potential deals with Fox on the horizon, Leno may just be burning the final bridges before his departure next year. An interesting year in late night television it will be.