Jay Leno to Depart The Tonight Show in February

Jay Leno Tonight Show End DateJay Leno will end his 22-year stint on The Tonight Show just prior to the winter Olympics’ opening ceremonies in February, the staff of the late-night series reportedly learned Friday.

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Leno’s last night in the chair will be February 6, the evening before NBC begins its coverage of the games in Sochi.

The winter games end Feb. 23, and Leno’s successor Jimmy Fallon will likely debut The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon after that. (In turn, Saturday Night Live writer-performer Seth Meyers will fill Fallon’s vacated spot at Late Night.)

In accordance with Leno’s exit deal with the network, our sister site Deadline reports, the Tonight Show cast and crew will be paid until the comedian’s contract ends in September.

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NBC Chairman Robert Greenblatt recently told reporters he hopes Leno will “still be a presence” on the network after February.

“We’ve been having conversations with Jay. We have various ideas,” he told reporters at the Television Critics Assoc. summer press tour. “Nothing would make us happier, a la Bob Hope, to have him be part of the network.”

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42 Comments
  1. Jill says:

    Good riddance

  2. lariet50 says:

    Pfft. Heard it before!

  3. Can’t wait after the Winter Olympics for Jimmy Fallon’s new gig on The Tonight Show and Seth Meyers’ new gig on Late Night after he leaves SNL and Weekend Update at the end of the year. What’s next for Leno?

  4. Linz says:

    Does it really count as 22 years if this is the second attempt at retirement? And he was fully replaced by Conan after his last retirement?

  5. Ed says:

    I heard NBC has a 10pm time slot that is waiting to be filled 5 nights a week

  6. DavidSask says:

    The thing is when Fallon takes over can he deliver number one?, that is doubtful!!!

  7. John says:

    Can he retire forever now?

  8. Matt says:

    Jay Leno to Return to ‘The Tonight Show’ in November 2014

  9. Mike Q. says:

    Nah, he’s going to go to Fox and trounce Fallon.

  10. I’m feeling very split; Leno sucks, but much of Fallon’s show is worse!!!

  11. Rob Horine says:

    After getting the Bum Rush from NBC twice now, I think Leno is going to tell NBC where to stick it.

  12. Drew says:

    Of course he’ll still be a presence at NBC! Just like he was still a presence the last time this happened!

    Doesn’t matter. I don’t watch his show anymore. I hate Jimmy Fallon, so I won’t be watching his show. Seth Myers might be the only person even less funny than Fallon (I know you’re thinking “What about Carson Daly?”… but I said person, not robot)

    Strange part is, I always thought Conan was funny. I liked watching his show.

  13. Chloe says:

    Love Jay & will really miss him. On the plus side, this will give me the opportunity to go to bed earlier.

  14. Haven’t we all know this for months? How is this news?

  15. M3rc Nate says:

    Do what your good at Jay, do a big time car show like his successful website “Jay Lenos Garage” on Saturday or Sunday night at 8pm (i would think thats the best day for gear-heads like myself) and have it be AWESOME…like the British Top Gear. If he could find a co-host who he has great chemistry with (and knows what they are talking about) and then every time they do a “road trip test drive” like Top Gear does, he brings along a celeb co-host (so it totals three hosts)….so for example:
    .
    Jay Leno starts the premier with talking about a season long project. he works (with his team) on a “project” car for the season (so the first episode its a rusted POS, they show a compilation of the work they do on it every episode until on the finale, its totally restored and gorgeous, and is sold for charity or something) So think like a episode of “Overhaulin” except over the course of….a 10 episode season.
    .
    Then “Car News” like Top Gear does, so he talks about all the recent car news with his co-host.
    .
    Then lastly they do a “segment” which is what has the guest celeb co-host, someone whos a gear head…so think Lake Bell, Michelle Rodriguez, Jerry Seinfeld, etc (real, legit car nuts) and that’s when they all go out (Jay, co-host, Guest Celeb co-host) and test drive/car trip awesome cars like Top Gear does when they go out in a Ferrari, Lambo and Aston in awesome locations like somewhere with great roads in Cali, OR, WA, Vegas..etc (and also destination road trip/car reviews).
    .
    A great non-but-kinda-rip-off segment he could also do that would be a big draw for celebs to want to come (just like how celebs want to drive the reasonably price car on Top Gear) is a race that celebs do and then is shown they visit for interviews/plug their stuff…but instead of a direct “reasonably priced car” rip off, the show gets a car…knowing Jay Leno, a brand new Corvette Z06, and the segment is: “Celebrity Drag Race”. So its a quarter mile drag track, every celeb drives the same Corvette Z06 (manual duh) and we see them do their 1/4 mile, then Jay tells them their time, and Celeb with the fastest time at the end of the season gets $_____ donated to a charity of their choice.

    I think this would be perfect because he loves his comedy which he’d get to do, he loves cars and working on them which he’d get to do, he loves driving amazing expensive cars which he’d get to do, he’d get to interview celebs still, and when he did his Jay Leno Show which he had more control of the segments, he did a rip off of Reasonably Priced Car and talks all the time about how much he loves the British Top Gear.

  16. Timmah says:

    Watch your back, Jimmy. It’s a trap! Just ask Conan.

  17. Polly says:

    Thankfully Craigyferg isn’t involved in this type of shenanigans.

  18. haukmoor says:

    Bob Hope must be spinning in his grave, Leno doesn’t have 1/10th the talent and charm he had.

  19. TV Gord says:

    Fortunately, most of the people behind the Leno at 10pm debacle are gone.

    I used to be a huge Leno fan (back when he was a regular guest on Late Night with David Letterman), but his underhanded shenanigans to get The Tonight Show soured me on him to the point where I can’t stand to even see his smug face. Still, I am scratching my head over NBC ousting him again. He’s got the ratings. He doesn’t want to go. I just don’t get it.

  20. Jon says:

    Hallelujah!

  21. Aeol says:

    All this hate but he’s still the top-rated host in late-night…interesting.

  22. raiza says:

    Haven’t we heard this before?

  23. teri says:

    Thank you GEEZUZ… Its about time

  24. Jo says:

    I would think NBC would be pleased to have Jay Leno he’s #one of late night TV. To replace him when he’s # 1 does not make since. The network is so ungrateful 22 years of great service and he’s given the boot. Shame on NBC..

  25. shump says:

    Where are all the celebrities that aren’t obnoxious, young idiots going to go to promote without Leno?

  26. I have never found Leno funny and glad to see him go after so long. If Johnny Carson could be forced out nothing is off the table.

    Fallon is much funnier and just more congenial than Leno.

  27. ES says:

    Karma may have finally gotten him.

  28. rosemary raines says:

    Jay Leno is number one and when he is gone I will not watch NBC. Can not stand Jimmy Fallen or Jimmy kimmel. Will follow Jay whever he goes best since Johnny Carsen. Cannot beleive NBC is so stupid. Hope he goes to FOX or somewhere.

  29. Helen Burns says:

    I’m hoping Jay gets another show as I really like him. And yes, I think he’s very funny, but some of his skits are too repetitive & predictable. Comedy is subjective & everyone has a different sense of humor. Jay is obviously making the majority laugh or he wouldn’t be #1. I do like Jimmy Falon, but not as much as Jay. He won’t get the ratings Jay did. A car show would fit Jay (as mentioned above), but I don’t think it would get the ratings as it would lose many female viewers (although I do like classic cars & I’m female). Good Luck to Jay Leno! I for one, will miss you on The Tonight Show. If you move to a different network in the same time slot, I will follow!!

  30. Elmer Padgett Jr says:

    Jay Leno has earned respect and is a good host. His jokes are not always funny but he makes up for it by doing a good job at interviews. Jimmy Fallen will not pull down the ratings. Fallen seems nervous and uncertain to me. Good luck to Jay. I hope to see you on FOX maybe starting at 11:00 pm.

  31. I was on the tonight show 5 times as a comic with Leno, before the star making machinery completely closed the door to providing the traditional career path for comedians. Leno seemingly made the show about Leno. It was like a twist occurred in Leno’s psyche at some point and he decided no comic was going to out do him, even the legendary Don Rickles had to be bested by him.

    As far as quality, I could barely watch the show when I was on it at the end of my run, and haven’t watched it in years.

    Leno was a nice guy, on the surface, but was only concerned about the career of Leno and those who bolstered his fame, only. These ego-maniacs of late night, had plenty of help from their predecessory pushes in late night, through to getting where the ended up, on top. Once there he and his counterpart on CBS reduced many of the up-and-comers to poverty wrt opportunities within the industry.

    Never a comic guest host, never a hand up. I’m glad he is gone.

  32. Cliff says:

    After 37 years in education seven as a Middle School Principal, I agree Fallon can reach a younger audience. Fallon’s Tonight Show is just about right for a Middle School audience but not High School or higher. I have given up watching his juvenile show.