Jay Leno’s The Tonight Show contract has been extended past 2014, NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt announced Sunday.
Several in attendance at the Television Critics Association press tour confirmed the announcement. TV critic Jim Halterman wrote on Twitter, “Leno’s contract just extended. No real talks about any succession plan when he does step down. They also love Carson Daly’s show. #tca13”
Greenblatt also dismissed rumors that NBC was planning to make Jimmy Fallon the host when Leno finally leaves The Tonight Show. TV Guide Magazine tweeted, “Greenblatt insisis there have not been talks with Jimmy Fallon to succeed Jay Leno. ‘Those conversations are premature.’ #TCA13”
Were Fallon to take Leno’s place, it might be a bit awkward, considering Fallon recently slammed the 62-year-old host.
“As a comedian, you can’t not have disdain for what he’s done,” Fallon said. “He totally sold out … He was a master chef who opened a Burger King.”
Leno has been the host of The Tonight Show since 1992. Fellow late night talk show host Conan O’Brien briefly took over the program starting on June 1, 2009. Leno returned as host on March 1, 2010, and O’Brien began hosting TBS’s Conan on November 8.
The Tonight Show is the third-longest running program on NBC after Meet the Press and Today. It is also the longest running scheduled entertainment program in the United States, and Leno is the second longest serving host. Nearly 11,000 episodes have aired, with 4,052 airing under Leno. 4,531 episodes aired under Johnny Carson. O’Brien hosted for a paltry 145 episodes.