NBC hopes Leno will stay post-Fallon as comedian emeritus

Jay Leno in St. Louis, Oct. 1, 2011. UPI/Bill Greenblatt
Jay Leno in St. Louis, Oct. 1, 2011. UPI/Bill Greenblatt | License Photo

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., July 28 (UPI) -- NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt said he hopes Jay Leno will stay with the U.S. network after turning over "The Tonight Show" to Jimmy Fallon.

Greenblatt, speaking with entertainment reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills, Calif., said Saturday the Leno-to-Fallon handoff had been in the workds since he joined NBC in 2011, but it was timed to coincide with the once-every-four-years promotional campaign associated with NBC's coverage of the Winter Olympics, The Hollywood Reporter said.


"We knew that we had a platform in the Olympics in the season that we weren't going to have again for four years. We wanted to make the transition when the time period was really strong to give Jimmy Fallon the best chance of succeeding," Greenblatt said.

Greenblatt said he has discussed with Leno the possibility of his staying on at NBC.

"Nothing would make us happier than to have him -- a la Bob Hope -- stay on the network. And he's got a lot of ideas," Greenblatt said.

"Jay has done an incredible job for more than two decades. He's actually one of the nicest people you will ever meet. And he's been a great team players in all of these transitional discussions," Greenblatt said.


Leno briefly left "The Tonight Show" to make room for Conan O'Brien, and hosted an hourlong weeknight show in prime-time. He returned to "The Tonight Show" after NBC's nightly lineup failed to connect with viewers.

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