NBC could be preparing to announce Jay Leno’s departure from the 11:35 p.m. late night spot he’s occupied for years. According to The Hollywood Reporter’s sources, Jay Leno has a contract through 2014 and would be “reluctant” to leave (remember that whole Conan O’Brien thing), but there are fears that ABC’s decision to move Jimmy Kimmel to the competing position has NBC on edge. Kimmel is taking some of the 18-to-49 demographic that is so important for advertisers. (Leno still leads in the ratings, unbelievably.)
Moreover, if David Letterman does step down after his contract is up in 2014, it could be an opening for even more competition, with CBS likely picking a replacement that will attract those coveted younger viewers.
Execs at NBC deny that any change is planned.
Personally, I’m all about The Daily Show and Colbert around this time, but if we have to choose, Jimmy Fallon is the more exciting of the late-night hosts (with Letterman running a close second). From dancing with the First Lady, to his great musical guests, to his Downton Abbey spoof “Downton Sixby,” he’s so much funnier now than he had even been on SNL.
But, why can’t a woman or a minority take one of these late-night spots? Is Chelsea Handler really the only game in town? Has anyone checked in with Aisha Tyler lately?