It’s long been one of the most immortalized franchises in television history. NBC’s “The Tonight Show” has been a ratings leader for decades, and it still serves as the inspiration for all late night television. The world of late night talk shows has provided audiences with some of the most memorable moments ever, but it’s also created some dramatic behind-the-scenes material as well. For instance, just this past week, Jay Leno, current host of “The Tonight Show,” and NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt sparred over some of Leno’s jokes that were targeted at NBC’s poor ratings. Meanwhile, rumors were circling that Jimmy Fallon was being groomed to replace Leno in the next few years.
It now appears those rumors had some truth to them, as more sources report that not only will Fallon take over, but that the show will move back to New York City, where it first originally aired.
So what’s fact and what’s fiction in all this? Are you ready to see the show move on? What about late night in general? And what’s going to happen to Jay Leno, the man who has stayed on top for so long?
Bill Carter, media and TV reporter for the New York Times, author of “The War for Late Night: When Leno Went Early and Television Went Crazy”
Joe Flint, media reporter for the Los Angeles Times