Jay Leno leaving NBC's 'Tonight' next season?

March 2, 2013 at 12:07 AM
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LOS ANGELES, March 2 (UPI) -- The 2013-14 television season will be the last for Jay Leno as host of "The Tonight Show" in Los Angeles, The Hollywood Reporter quoted two sources as saying.

Public confirmation regarding Leno's departure is expected to be made in May when "Late Night" host Jimmy Fallon is announced as his successor on the 11:35 p.m. program.

"We do not speculate on rumor," Leno's representative told THR Friday.

The move is apparently being considered because NBC feels Fallon can better compete with the younger-skewing Jimmy Kimmel, whose "Live!" program ABC moved into the 11:35 p.m. time slot in January, the entertainment industry trade newspaper said.

NBC previously booted Leno, 62, as host of "Tonight" at the end of the 2008-09 season and gave the position to "Late Night" host Conan O'Brien to keep O'Brien from moving to another network. NBC then offered Leno a nightly, hourlong, 10 p.m. series, which kicked off in September 2009.

But when the prime time "Jay Leno Show" failed to be a strong lead-in for local news broadcasts, NBC announced it would push Leno's show back to 11:35 p.m., shorten it to 30 minutes and air "Tonight" at 12:05 a.m. However, O'Brien said he would not remain on "Tonight" if it was bumped to 12:05 a.m. and left the network, paving the way for Leno's return as "Tonight" host in the traditional 11:35 p.m. time slot in March 2010.

O'Brien now heads up his own chat show "Conan" on TBS.

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