The fate of “The Tonight Show” is uncertain in the coming years, as long time host Jay Leno’s contract with the show expires in 2014. Leno began substituting regularly for Johnny Carson on “The Tonight Show” in 1987 and replaced Carson as host in 1992 even though it was expected that the show was to be handed to David Letterman. In 2004, both Leno and late night host Conan O’Brien signed contracts with NBC which would have Leno’s reign end and Conan take over the reins in 2009.
Leno went on to host “The Jay Leno Show”, but when ratings for both Conan and Leno began to sag, NBC decided to bump Leno to the 11:35pm time slot and move “The Tonight Show” with Conan to 12:05. This did not sit well with Conan. : "I sincerely believe that delaying The Tonight Show into the next day to accommodate another comedy program will seriously damage what I consider to be the greatest franchise in the history of broadcasting. “The Tonight Show” at 12:05 simply isn’t “The Tonight Show”." said Conan. Conan left the network to start his own show on TBS, and on March 1st 2010, Leno settled back into his role as “Tonight Show” host.
Now, the time has come again for the network to make a decision about who will take over the iconic talk show if or when Leno leaves for good. Word is that talent agents have been contacted by NBC to start looking for someone to take over Jimmy Fallon’s “Late Night” duties, which leads us to believe that he may be next in line for “Tonight Show” inheritance. “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” debuted in 2009 and has since seen a steady improvement in ratings and reviews. 38 year old Fallon could be an interesting replacement for Leno with the potential to stay with the show long term.
How would you feel about Fallon becoming the new “Tonight Show” host? Do you think Leno should stick around for a few more years?