Leno Bashes NBC Amid Fallon Rumors

'Tonight Show' host hits network 3 nights in a row
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 21, 2013 10:06 AM CDT

Hmm, can anyone think of a reason Jay Leno might be unhappy with NBC? Amid rumors that he's being replaced as Tonight Show host by Jimmy Fallon, Leno has mocked his network for the past three nights, the AP reports. Late night hosts often take potshots at the hand that feeds them, but this time around the network has asked Leno to stop. He hasn't:

  • Last night: "Scientists say they’re getting closer and closer to being able to do Jurassic Park-style cloning of extinct species. Imagine that? Things once thought to be extinct can now be brought back from the dead. So there’s hope for NBC. It could turn around." (Hat tip to Mediaite for the video.)
  • Tuesday: Referring to a Serbian woman with a rare brain condition that causes her to see the world upside down, he quipped, "Isn't that crazy? It's unbelievable. She sees everything upside down. In fact, she thinks NBC is at the top of the ratings."
  • Monday: "You know the whole legend of St. Patrick, right? St. Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland—and then they came to the United States and became NBC executives."

Fallon, who has called Leno to try and smooth things over, also addressed the rumors last night, according to the Hollywood Reporter:

  • "Before we get started, I have to talk about the rumors that came out today that I'll be moving up to 11:30—or as my parents call it, eh, too late. Actually the rumors are true; NBC is turning the Tonight Show into a diving competition," he said, a reference to new ABC reality show Splash.
  • And in an interview for the April issue of GQ, Fallon said hosting the iconic show "would be great, sure, I guess. I'd love it, but it's not on my mind. I'm in no rush to do anything. I'm kind of a boring character in that book. I'm not in a fight with Jay or Conan, or any of them." (In the same article, Lorne Michaels says a Fallon takeover is inevitable, calling the comedian "the closest to Carson that I've seen of this generation.")
Still no official word on the all-but-certain rumors, but NBC did confirm yesterday that it is creating a new New York studio for Fallon, who already hosts Late Night in the city. Leno hosts Tonight in Burbank. One analyst notes that the transition could take place during next year's Winter Olympics. "If they're going to do it, it makes sense to do it when NBC is dominating television for 17 days," and can heavily promote the switch, he says. "They could have Fallon in Sochi, talking it up." (Read more Jay Leno stories.)

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