NBC Chairman Calls Jimmy Fallon/Tonight Show Talk “Premature”
While speaking to journalists at the Television Critics Association’s Press Tour this weekend, NBC Chairman Bob Greenblatt addressed rumors that the network is planning to replace Jay Leno with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show in 2014. “All of those conversations are a little bit premature,” Greenblatt was quoted as saying. He explained, “We just extended Jay and it would be disingenuous to extend him and talk about a succession plan.” The contract extension Greenblatt is referring to is NBC’s move this past September to extend Leno’s contract through May 2014 along with a 50% pay cut. Greenblatt’s statements come hot on the heels of a report from The NY Daily News last month that claimed several talent agents had been contacted about finding a replacement for Jimmy Fallon on Late Night for 2014. Bob Greenblatt also addressed Jimmy Kimmel’s ABC show’s move to 11:35 from midnight, which takes place this week and puts Kimmel in direct competition with Leno and Letterman for the first time, saying “The reason we’re not concerned is Jay’s incumbent legacy.” With the Leno/Fallon transition looking like it’s not likely to happen until after 2014 – unless Kimmel starts to absolutely trounce Leno in the ratings – Bill Carter had better call up his publisher and ask for an extension on his book deal for the impending late night war.