Strange things are afoot in the world of late night television.
A while back, NBC decided that in 2009, Jay Leno would hand over the reins of The Tonight Show to Conan O’Brien. To replace the seat vacated by Conan, Saturday Night Live alum Jimmy Fallon would become the host of "Late Night."
Leno has previously stated that he would not be staying with NBC when Conan takes over. But with Leno still getting great ratings, NBC's prez Jeff Zucker realized he better hold onto this cash cow a little while longer and came up with a plan to keep the big guy around.
On Tuesday, NBC announced that Leno was going to be hosting a "prime time" show that starts at 10pm. Alright, 10pm is not technically considered prime time, but saying Leno's new show is in that time slot makes it sound better to potential viewers, which NBC desperately needs. In prime time, NBC has only two shows in the Neilsen top 20, which is pretty pathetic.
In his monologue, fellow late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel helped to sum things up with Leno:
"They figured Jay would retire, but Jay can’t retire because he’s got like 185 car payments to make. So he has to work. Recently people began speculating that once Jay got pushed out at NBC he would come here to ABC, which would mean we would be pushed back deep into the night. But last night they surprised everyone by revealing that Jay will stay at NBC and do a show in prime time at 10 o’clock every night. Which I assume means he’s not coming here -- which also means that I let him shower with me for no reason at all...
I’m not going to lie: I feel like a huge chin has been lifted off of my shoulders. I want our loyal viewers to know that I spoke to the president of ABC this morning and he assured me that, unless something better comes along, I will be on this network for many years to come."
So Leno gets a "prime time" show, Conan goes to the Tonight Show, Fallon joins the ranks of Late Night hosts and Jimmy stays where he is.
No word on what Letterman thinks about all pf this.