Remember how we said last night that the writing may be on the wall when it comes to Jay Leno’s long-term future at NBC? Based on what we are hearing now, it is certainly starting to look as though the network is getting ready to make a move towards replacing the controversial host of “The Tonight Show,” and instead give the timeslot some new (and much younger) blood.
According to the New York Times, who have been on the nose with many NBC-related stories in the past, the network is strongly considering having a new version of the long-running show featuring Jimmy Fallon as the star by no later than the fall of next year, which of course means that Leno’s time hosting at “The Tonight Show” would be over. Rather than pulling a Conan O’Brien and forcing Fallon to move to Los Angeles, the show would continue to be fronted in New York City and would likely keep a similar vibe.
Could we really see Fallon taking over the reigns as host a little bit early? If we were being completely honest here when it comes to the situation, then the answer is yet without a doubt. Leno has come under fire by his employer as of late for a series of anti-NBC remarks, and we would not rule out an early divorce if things get so ugly between the two parties that the network wants to try and protect itself a little bit.
The only real argument you could give for keeping Leno around is that while he may not be altogether popular in the media, he still host the highest-rated late-night talk show on any of the major networks. Not only that, but he is performer far better than when O’Brien briefly hosted his version of “The Tonight Show” after moving over from “Late Night.”
What do you think: is this a good move if it happens, or do you worry about Fallon’s mainstream appeal? If you want to see some more recent Fallon highlights, you could do so over at the link here.