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October 9, 2015

Kevin Eubanks Quitting 'The Tonight Show'?

by Kona Gallagher, posted Feb 16th 2010 6:02PM
kevin eubanksMaybe he's on Team CoCo? Sources have told Extra that Kevin Eubanks, who has been Jay Leno's band leader since 1994, is quitting. Eubanks joined the 'Tonight Show' band in 1992, after releasing several albums. He followed Leno over to his primetime experiment, 'The Jay Leno Show,' but sources say that Eubanks is "ready for a change" and won't be returning to 'The Tonight Show' with Leno.

This news hasn't been confirmed -- in fact, NBC denied it to one of our fellow AOL writers -- so we have no further insight into Eubanks' alleged decision. TV Guide Canada is speculating that the recent Late Night Wars and the resulting instability has something to do with Eubanks leaving, which is understandable. Even though the folks who work for Leno made out better than those who worked for Conan, the constant moving around and uncertainty can't make for a pleasant working environment.

On the other hand, Eubanks is first and foremost a musician, so it's entirely possible that he's simply tired of being known as the guy who laughs at Leno's jokes all the time. Also possible is that Eubanks isn't leaving at all. As of right now, NBC is denying the story, so this could all very well be much ado about nothing. However, networks aren't known for being candid about people leaving, so I wouldn't automatically dismiss this story based on that.

Here's the important question, though: if Eubanks is leaving, who should replace him as 'The Tonight Show' band leader? Hootie and the Blowfish singer Darius Rucker has been rumored, but who do you think would fit the bill?

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Eubanks is terrible, his laughing always gets in the way and he's like that annoying guy at the comedy show that seems like he's paid to laugh at everything. Hootie would be cool. But no house band will ever come close to the mix of talent and comedy that The Roots have on Jimmy Fallon. They alone are worth the time to watch that mediocre talk show simply for the choice of song when the celebrity comes out. I'm putting my vote in for a promotion to Jay Leno for The Roots!

February 17 2010 at 11:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joyce N.

People Magazine is saying: Kevin Eubanks is possibly leaving The Tonight Show after 18 years with Jay Leno. He was a jazz guitarist for the first 2 years and then became the bandleader. Kevin is quoted as saying, "I simply want a change and a chance for new opportunities." He goes on to say that wants to tour and record. He says nothing bad about Jay and doesn't refer to the recent fiasco at all.

February 16 2010 at 8:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What is this instability you keep talking about? Both the shows were shot in LA, it's not like he has to uproot his family. He may very well leave, but your reasoning sound superfluous.

I sincerely hope you only share a last name with Danny G and not his stalker mentality towards Conan.

February 16 2010 at 7:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I hope all good musicians boycott Leno

February 16 2010 at 6:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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