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October 4, 2015

ABC still interested in Leno

by Allison Waldman, posted Apr 9th 2008 8:35AM
Jay LenoSo, Disney CEO Robert Iger was having one of those yummy breakfast confabs talking about the future of the network and new media, alternate platforms and all those other fun buzz words about how we're going to be watching shows in the next few years. Then, kind of as an aside, he was asked about Jay Leno. With the end of Leno's era as the host of The Tonight Show looming -- and Conan O'Brien chomping at the bit to take over -- Mr. Iger said that he wouldn't rule out ABC going after Jay.

Ken Auletta of the New Yorker pressed Iger about Leno, to which the ABC head man squirmed and said, "It's not something we typically comment on."

Hello? What's that all about, Bob? I mean, this has been rumored before. TV Squad wrote about ABC and Fox both having interest in Leno. But you really mean it, don't you, Bob?

This is clearly recognition of the fact that Leno has a high Q rating (thanks to the massive popularity -- still -- of the Tonight franchise). Even in the recent AOL survey of talk show hosts, Jay Leno was the number one choice of which late-night host with whom people wanted to go to bed. ABC's late-night host, Jimmy Kimmel, was fourth, behind David Letterman and Conan O'Brien. You think Mr. Iger saw that poll? I do.

Despite the fact that Kimmel skews to a younger demographic and has been building a following -- he just reached the 1,000 show plateau -- it seems like ABC may not be able to resist landing a big fish like Leno. After seeing what Jimmy Kimmel concocted in response to Sarah Silverman's Matt Damon video -- "I'm f*cking Ben Affleck" -- I would stick with Jimmy and let Fox or some other network have Jay. I don't think Jay's been funny since his Doritos commercials. But that's just me. ABC has made an investment in Kimmel; they should give him time to grow an audience and a following.

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James Morman

I have followed the 'Tonight Show' when it was Steve Allen, and all the years includig all the Johnny Carson years, and I think Jay Leno has topped them all. Wherever he goes, i'll go with him. NBC hs let a lot of talent slip thru their fingers, and losing Jay is a BIG mistake!
I also watched The Today Show until they lost Katie, but their lookalikes will never be Katie.

April 11 2008 at 4:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I really enjoy Leno but if I have to pick over him or Kimmel. I hate to say it but I got to go with Kimmel. I just love every one on the show. You got uncle Frank, Cousin Sal & Guillermo. So for me I would hate to lose this show. But if ABC wants to take off Night Line which I know they would not I would love to see both Leno and Kimmel on ABC.

April 10 2008 at 12:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I still think Craig Ferguson is the best. I hope he sticks around after Dave & Jay retire and gets moved up 1 hour. I also hope Jay doesn't start making movies. He was terrible at that.

April 09 2008 at 1:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It would be nice to see Leno stay on tv; but what if he actually wants to retire and just play with his cars?

April 09 2008 at 9:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to JW's comment

I think Leno has made references in the past that indicate retirement was not his choice.

The person I feel bad for, though, is Conan, because he's caught in the middle in a situation I'm not certain he was pushing hard for. But not too bad, because his people apparently read The Late Shift and (I'm pretty sure,c can't find the article) got him a huge penalty to be paid if NBC decides to renege.

I think people that underestimate Conan shouldn't, though. He's a really smart writer and (as shown by his Emmy stint) can adapt his style of humor for different audiences.

April 09 2008 at 10:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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