Fallon reportedly replacing Leno
LOS ANGELES (AP) — As Jay Leno lobs potshots at ratings-challenged NBC in his "Tonight" monologues, speculation is swirling the network is taking steps to replace the host with Jimmy Fallon next year and move the show from Burbank to New York.
NBC confirmed Wednesday it's creating a new studio for Fallon in New York, where he hosts "Late Night." But the network did not comment on a report that the digs at its Rockefeller Plaza headquarters may become home to a transplanted, Fallon-hosted "Tonight."
The New York Times reported the plan in a Wednesday story, citing unidentified network executives. The Hollywood Reporter had a March 1 report about a Fallon-Leno switch, which was denied by the network.
Looming over NBC is its messy, failed effort to replace Leno with Conan O'Brien, which ended in 2010 with Leno regaining "Tonight" and NBC losing O'Brien — who got a $45 million exit deal — to TBS. Leno's current "Tonight" contract expires in September 2014.
That occurred under a different regime, before NBCUniversal was taken over by Philadelphia-based Comcast Corp., which has a reputation for discipline. While NBC dithered and backtracked on its "Tonight" succession plan involving O'Brien, Comcast is likely to be more decisive.