Jay Leno goes to Primetime?! | EW.com

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Jay Leno goes to Primetime?!

Jay_l

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Jay_l
Jay Leno is coming to primetime TV. NBC is expected to
announce at a news conference on Tuesday that the Tonight Show host, who will
be succeeded by Conan O’Brien next May, has been given a new contract that will
keep him at the network. Though Leno and NBC weren’t commenting tonight, two
separate news reports say the 58-year-old comedian will front a series not unlike
the one he currently headlines, and that it will film in the same Burbank complex
that has long housed the Tonight Show. (O’Brien and his cohorts will beam from
the new NBC/Universal lot in Universal City.) Leno’s new show is expected to air five times weekly sometime before next fall.

The move comes just after Jeff Zucker told a luncheon in New
York City on Monday that the network—which announced staff cuts and a total
reorganization of its structure in recent days—could eventually have to program
fewer hours in its weekly schedule
. It also saves NBC the cost of producing hour-long dramas for the 10 p.m. slot, a problem it’s faced in recent months
with now-canceled series like My Own Worst Enemy and Lipstick Jungle. Most important for
NBC, though, it keeps Leno, a proven ratings earner, in its stable at a time when it
needs him; there was heavy speculation that Leno would be courted by ABC (potentially replacing
Nightline and setting up a three-way battle with O’Brien and David Letterman). It also gives NBC a shot at airing that 21st-century variety format that Rosie O’Donnell tried–and failed–to bring back last month.

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