Jay Leno

Kim Kardashian, Part 1 – The Tonight Show with Jay Leno

Kim Kardashian on her pleasant surprise pregnancy and which sister she told first.

The Jay Leno Show


The Jay Leno Show is an American comedy show created by and starring Jay Leno, that aired at 10 p.m. from September 14, 2009 to February 9, 2010 on NBC, after Leno’s initial retirement from hosting The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.  In January 2010, NBC announced that due to affiliate concerns about its effect on their newscasts, The Jay Leno Show would be shortened to 30 minutes and moved from primetime to 11:35 p.m., the timeslot that had been occupied by The Tonight Show for nearly 60 years.

The Tonight Show host Conan O’Brien released a public statement saying that he would not participate in moving Tonight to 12:05 a.m., asserting that it would damage the highly respected franchise.  Despite much support for O’Brien from both the public and media professionals alike NBC maintained its plan to move Leno to 11:35. On January 21, 2010, NBC reached a $45 million settlement with O’Brien in order to end his contract. Leno resumed his duties as host of Tonight on March 1, 2010. Leno ended on February 9, 2010 after being on the air for only four months, with Entertainment Weekly calling the program television’s “Biggest Bomb of All Time.”


NBC announced in 2004 that Leno would leave Tonight in 2009, with Conan O’Brien as his replacement. Leno—who wanted to avoid an acrimonious transition like what he experienced when he inherited Tonight from Johnny Carson —said at the announcement, “You can do these things until they carry you out on a stretcher, or you can get out when you’re still doing good.”  He began to regret his decision to retire in 2007, and several networks and studios including ABCFoxSony, and Tribune expressed interest in his services after leaving Tonight.

Jeff Zucker, President and CEO of NBC Universal (2007–2011).


Jeff Zucker, then-President and CEO of NBC Universal, sought to keep Leno from defecting to a competitor. Leno rejected several NBC offers for free network daytime slots, or cable TV slots, a series of recurring specials, and a half-hour show at 8 pm five nights a week featuring Leno’sTonight monologue.  The network had in 1981 considered moving The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson to 10 pm; Zucker, who in 2007 offered Oprah Winfrey an hour five nights a week at 8 pm, now offered Leno an hour five nights a week at 10 pm.  Leno was announced on December 9, 2008.


At least one station, WHDH-TV in Boston, Massachusetts, stated that it would not carry the program, claiming that Leno would be detrimental to the station’s 11 pm news and that it would instead launch a local news program in the time slot. NBC said that such plans would amount to a flagrant violation of the network contract—a claim which WHDH disputed—and said that it would immediately remove its programming from WHDH if the station followed through with the plan. WHDH backed down on April 13, 2009, and announced that it would air Leno instead of the proposed program.

Though Leno was the first to move the entire five-day-a-week late night talk show to prime time, he was not the first Tonightalumnus to move from late night to a prime time talk show. Steve Allen hosted The Tonight Show from 1954 to 1957; while still hosting that show, he began hosting the prime-time The Steve Allen Show in 1956, and the latter show would run until 1960. Jack Paar, who hosted Tonight from 1957 to 1962, next hosted a weekly talk show known as The Jack Paar Program that ran until 1965.


In January 2010, several news outlets reported that The Jay Leno Show would be shortened to 30 minutes and begin airing weeknights at 11:35 pm ET, with Conan O’Brien and Jimmy Fallon‘s shows following it beginning at 12:05 am. The scheduling change would have been implemented on February 28 after the 2010 Winter Olympics (which preempted much of NBC’s primetime and late-night lineup for its duration).  Leno himself commented on the rumors during his January 7 monologue, joking that NBC stands for “Never Believe your Contract.”  According to Broadcasting & Cable, “most [NBC affiliates] are hopeful Jay—and Conan—sticks with NBC, and most, if not all, desperately want to see a change in terms of the lead-in they’re getting to their lucrative late news; the affiliates “remain fiercely loyal to Leno and were quick to say the rookie program’s struggles don’t reflect the funnyman’s work ethic or comedic chops. ‘This isn’t about Jay’s popularity,’ says WJAR Providence VP/General Manager Lisa Churchville. ‘This is about having that kind of show at 10 p.m.'”

NBC announced plans to move Leno to 11:35 pm and The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien to 12:05 am. O’Brien refused to participate in the move and, on January 21, 2010, reached an agreement with NBC allowing him to leave the network.  Leno’s final episode aired on February 9, 2010 and Leno returned to Tonight as host on March 1, 2010.


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