As Jay Leno nears his final Tonight Show in 2009, NBC is scrambling to keep the late night king at the network and away from rivals ABC and Fox. Peacock execs have pitched a prime time variety show, miscellaneous work on NBC's cable channels, and a showcase of Jay-on-demand through cable or online, Variety reports.
"We want him to stay at NBC for life," said network entertainment chief Ben Silverman. NBC announced that Conan O'Brien would replace Leno, but could still buy out O'Brien's $40 million contract to keep Leno in Burbank. Leno hasn't revealed his plans, but friends say retiring at 59—seven years younger than Johnny Carson did—is unlikely for the famed workaholic.