The network wouldn’t confirm or deny the rumors and the hosts aren’t talking either.
Based on the mood in the room last night, Carson wasn’t too concerned.
“You never would know there was even an issue. By the way, I don’t think there is an issue.”
“It’s like a non-story,” he added. “Does anybody think Jimmy Fallon is not going to take over for Jay Leno? If you had asked people that yesterday morning at 10am, wouldn’t you say the average person, 8 out of 10, is under the assumption that the guy on after gets moved up.”
The Tonight Show is no stranger to controversy. Back when Johnny Carson was retiring, people were shocked when NBC hired Leno to take over the reins. It had been all but assumed that Letterman was the man for the job.
More recently, Conan O’Brien was promoted when Leno moved his show to 10 p.m., but after disappointing ratings, the network decided to bring Leno back to the late night scene.
Carson thinks this transition will go much more smoothly than those in years past.
“I think it’s going to happen fall of 2014, when Leno’s contract is up. And they’ll probably move the show maybe back to New York, which will be the biggest news.”
“Jimmy [Kimmel] comes on like wildfire, ratings-wise. He’s stealing all the young viewers,” Carson said. “Then there’s Fallon, who does all the really fun, you know, Justin Timberlake, YouTube videos and History of Rap and those sorts of things seem to be the more of the future of late night.”
However, he forsees one wrinkle in the plan. If The Tonight Show does move to NYC, the battle to book guests might become more challenging.
“You already have [Jon] Stewart, [Stephen] Colbert, Letterman. It’s hard to get guests in New York. It’s harder than here.”
- Who would you choose to host The Tonight Show? Would you be disappointed if the NBC late night show left L.A.? Sound off in the comments section!