Jay Leno may soon be heading into retirement.
There’s no expiration date on Leno’s gig yet but The Hollywood Reporter says that NBC is looking to make a change after the 2013-14 television season. If the rumor about Leno’s retirement is true, many people are speculating that Jimmy Fallon will take over The Tonight Show.
Neither Jay nor NBC have commented on Leno’s potential retirement.
According to The Atlantic Wire, NBC is worried that Jimmy Kimmel, who recently dropped down into the competitive 11:35 timeslot at ABC, will steal the young audience away from Leno and NBC. The network wants to bring Jimmy Fallon to the 11:35 slot in order to stay competitive with Kimmel.
A source said: “The more time Jimmy Kimmel is in that slot, the more the young audience goes that way, the harder it is for Jimmy [Fallon] to keep that audience … Kimmel has done extremely well. 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).”
It should also be noted that Leno’s contract expires in 2014.
Jay’s longtime rival, David Letterman, may also be announcing his retirement soon. Letterman’s contract also expires in 2014 and CBS may be looking for some new blood. If Letterman announces his retirement before Jay, CBS may try to steal Fallon away from NBC.
Of course, this sort of thing has played out before. In 2009, Leno retired in order to make room for the hottest talk show host at the time, Conan O’Brien. That turned into an all out fiasco at NBC as Leno unretired and Conan left the network.
Do you think Jay Leno’s retirement is coming soon? Will Jimmy Fallon take a seat behind The Tonight Show desk?
Here’s a video of Jay Leno announcing his retirement … the first time.