Will Jimmy Fallon Replace Jay Leno Next Year On NBC?

Does NBC plan on pulling the ol’ talk-show host switcheroo, again?

While NBC is denying that they are making preparations for Jay Leno’s departure from The Tonight Show after his contract expires in 2014, “two high-level industry” sources told The Hollywood Reporter that the network is in fact planning to announce that the 2013-2014 season will be Jay’s last as the host of their most popular late-night show.  And who are do they want in Jay’s place?  Why none other than NBC’s Late Night, Jimmy Fallon.

If the sources have it right, NBC is concerned over the competition ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! will bring their network.  But not about the competition he will bring them now; Jay has and continues to beat out not only Kimmel, but all the other late night talk show hosts in ratings on a regular basis, despite pushing out his first replacement, Conan O’Brien, in one of the messiest network/network star divorces ever.  However, while Jay still brings in the highest ratings now, NBC is allegedly concerned over Kimmel’s popularity amongst the 18-49 demographic, and what impact that popularity will have on future ratings. “Kimmel has done extremely well,” a network veteran says, adding that he is unaware of any contemplated Leno move. “Jay wins overall, but on any given night, it’s neck-and-neck in 18-49. I understand where they might have fear and also feel that they own the solution [in Fallon.]”

The Hollywood Reporter also points out that NBC may be concerned over a possible [David] Letterman retirement announcement.   David, like Jay, has a contract that runs through 2014, and NBC may be nervous that if they don’t have Fallon signed on to take over The Tonight show by then, they may be facing another debacle if Jay is also removed from his position as The Tonight Show’s host next year.  Not that David has announced any plans to retire.  In fact, both he and Jay are probably waiting for the other one to walk away first, as they have enjoyed an open feud since Jay underhandedly took over as The Tonight Show’s host, a position which David wanted.

Though Jay is not the type to allow himself to be “pushed out of office,” nor has he made any indication that he plans on stepping down from his throne, my advice to Jimmy Fallon- just in case he does find himself being asked to replace Jay- is to make sure to get an airtight contract from NBC that leaves no room for Jay to come claim his kingdom once again.  Just ask Conan about it.

[Photo Credit: PR Photos]


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