It’s official. NBC Executives announced today that long-time “Tonight Show” host and funnyman, Jay Leno will be signing off on Friday, May 29, 2009. Leno’s replacement, “Late Night” talker Conan O’Brien will take over the “Tonight Show” desk the following Monday, June first.
NBC has made no secret of its plans to dump Leno for O’Brien. Industry watchers as well as “Tonight Show” fans have debated the move for sometime. No one really knows what will happen. We will have to wait and see if the “Tonight Show” audience will embrace O’Brien like they did Leno when Johnny Carson retired in May of 1992.
Unlike Carson’s departure, Leno’s is not voluntary. Leno reportedly is being courted by other networks and syndicators to start-up a new show of his own. NBC is said to be making offers in hopes Leno will stay. Meanwhile, comedian Jimmy Fallon is waiting in the wings to be the next “Late Night” host.
NBC co-chairmen Ben Silverman and Marc Graboff made the big announcement at a Television Critics Association meeting in Beverly Hills today.
Do they have a good plan? The NBC Executives are convinced they do. However, it will be up to the TV fans of those shows to determine if the switching of the talk show hosts is a turn-off or a turn-on.
In about 10 months, TV fans will vote their pleasure by continuing to watch those shows or flipping the channel. It’s as simple as that.