Deadline is exclusively reporting that Jay Leno's final episode as the host of'The Tonight Show' will air on February 6, 2014. This news is confirming rumors that Leno's tenure as the host of the legendary comedy program would come to a close prior to the opening ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
That means that on February 6, Leno will bid farewell to a job he held for twenty-two years, accounting of course for the seven-month hiccough where he temporarily handed the reins to Conan O'Brien. This time around, Leno is passing 'The Tonight Show' to Jimmy Fallon, who is slated to debut as the show's new host on February 24, 2014, one night after the closing ceremonies at Sochi. Fallon will be joining the impressive ranks of Steve Allen, Jack Paar, Johnny Carson... here's hoping that Fallon gets more than a seven-month window to make his mark.
Vickers’ announcement was made one week after NBC Entertainment chief Bob Greenblatt confirmed the network is having talks with Leno about “various ideas” for Leno after he ends his run on the late night show in February. Last time Leno stepped aside, he took on a new show, called simply 'The Jay Leno Show,' also for NBC. Could we see a resurgence of 'The Jay Leno Show,' once Fallon takes the comic veteran's spot?
As host of 'The Tonight Show,' Leno has consistently won the ratings battle with 'The Late Show with David Letterman.' When Leno stepped aside for O'Brien, 'The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien' saw ratings taper off significantly, giving Letterman the lead. After NBC wrested the show away from O'Brien and returned Leno to the helm, ratings rose again and 'The Tonight Show' has been on top ever since. Time will tell if 'The Late Show with Jimmy Fallon' will see any decline; Fallon's demographic skews far younger than Leno's audience, so it is possible that NBC will have to weather a dry spell.
Also on February 24, after Fallon's tenure on 'The Tonight Show' officially begins, NBC will debut 'Late Night with Seth Meyers' in the 12:30AM timeslot. Meyers is taking over Fallon's old show and timeslot, his first such tenure as a talk show host. Meyers is the fourth host of 'Late Night,' following Letterman, O'Brien and Fallon; the show has proven to be a star-maker.
How would you like to see Leno sign off on February 6, 2014?