Jay Leno Bows Out With Biggest ‘Tonight Show’ Week In Decades; Ditto Jimmy Fallon’s ‘Late Night’ Swan Song

Jay Leno‘s Tonight ShowLeno_lastshow__140207022124-575x388 swan song churned up the franchise’s biggest weekly crowd since the week of NBC’s Cheers finale in ’93. Meanwhile, his replacement, Jimmy Fallon wrapped his Late Night hosting gig with that show’s biggest weekly haul since it followed Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show farewell, in May of  ’92.

Leno’s actual Thursday night finale last week clocked the biggest crowd for an individual Tonight show broadcast since Jerry Seinfeld turned up after his primetime hit’s so-long episode, on May 14, 1998. Read More »

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Jimmy Fallon’s First Full Week Of ‘Tonight Show’ Includes Guests Jerry Seinfeld, Kristen Wiig, Bradley Cooper, Justin Timberlake

By | Monday February 10, 2014 @ 8:52am PST

NBC this morning announced Jimmy Fallon’s first full week of guests on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Fallon is bringing the network’s late-night franchise jimmy_fallonback to New York City next week. The lineup for premiere week includes the previously … Read More »

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‘Tonight Show With Jay Leno’ Draws Largest Audience In 4 Years With Final Full Week

By | Thursday February 6, 2014 @ 1:07pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

Leno-monologue__130404173359__130509220741In its final full week on the air, The Tonight Show With Jay Leno drew 5 million viewers from January 27-31, the show’s largest audience since the week of March 1-5, 2010, Leno’s first week back on The Tonight Show. … Read More »

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NBC Faces Tough Task Of Balancing Games, Promotion And Security Concerns As Sochi Olympics Begin

By | Thursday February 6, 2014 @ 12:49pm PST

SochiOlympicsNBC__131021180345__140123184857NBC today kicks off its most ambitious Olympics coverage ever in Sochi, airing the Winter Games across NBC, NBC Sports Network, USA, MSNBC, and CNBC (Curling, Nothing But Curling). Its planned 1,539 hours of coverage outstrips its Vancouver and Torino coverage combined, and Kantar Media has forecast NBC’s Sochi-palooza will result in a whopping 5,500 minutes of Olympics TV ad time. The Sochi Olympics also are expected to be real barn-burner, ratings-wise — but for reasons that might unravel NBC’s larger Games Goals. Security concerns –  the big story so far in Sochi — are expected to drive up ratings, as some viewers tune in to see if anything bad happens. “If anything, the prospect of a terrorist event, the controversy of [Russia's] anti-gay laws –  those things in an odd way have increased awareness and interest in those games,” Bob Costas, NBC’s primetime Olympics host, acknowledged to reporters during a recent news conference. He added, “Obviously, we have our fingers crossed that nothing happens.”

Related: NBC “Taking Every Precaution” In Wake of Russian Violence Ahead Of Sochi Olympics

The Tonight Show with Jay LenoThat kind of Must See TV, however, may not mesh up with NBC’s long-held belief the Olympics are the perfect platform off of which to promote, and launch, new programming. The broadcast network plans to premiere two new primetime comedies – About A Boy and Growing Up Fisher – following Olympics coverage on Saturday, February 22, and the Closing Ceremony on Sunday, February 23, respectively. But by far NBC’s biggest play will be its debut of its Jimmy Fallon-hosted Tonight Show, making its much-ballyhooed return to New York City. Fallon will debut as host immediatly after Games coverage during NBC’s second week of Sochi coverage: The first week of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon will air at midnight; on Monday, February 24, it moves back to the franchise’s earlier, regular timeslot, followed by the premiere of Late Show With Seth Meyers. According to outgoing Tonight Show host Jay Leno, NBC moved up its planned hand-over in order to feed Fallon the huge Olympics audience.

Related: Hot Late-Night Promo: ‘The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon’ Read More »

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‘The Tonight Show’ Hits Best Wednesday Since Conan O’Brien’s First Week In 2009

By | Thursday February 6, 2014 @ 8:02am PST

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno - Season 22Jay Leno’s last week fronting The Tonight Show has seen the host hit ratings highs not experienced since his return to the NBCRead More »

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Jay Leno’s ‘Tonight Show’ Exit: Carefully Orchestrated Do-Over

LisaColumn__131015210634-275x198On Thursday night, Jay Leno once again will hand over The Tonight Show to NBC’s younger-better idea – this time it’s his lead-out, Jimmy Fallon.

Most of the coverage has been about Leno taking with him a commanding ratings lead in late-night, not only among total viewers but also in the 18-49 age bracket advertisers covet.  And in the days leading up to his exit, The Reporters Who Cover Television dusted off think pieces about Leno leaving the show in the wake of a demographic shift affecting millions of baby boomers who are being pushed aside to make way for a younger generation with different sensibilities. In many ways, Leno’s handoff to Fallon does mirror the first time the press wrote those think pieces, when NBC replaced Leno withJay Leno NBC his lead-out, Conan O’Brien in 2009 – a plan that famously flamed out over seven months.

Related: Jay Leno Hazes Jimmy Fallon On ‘Tonight Show’ (Video)

But the bigger news here is the incredible gift Leno’s been given: a handoff do-over.

It’s a loaded gift for Leno.  He owes much of his ratings success, and longevity, to the fact that he’s much adored in flyover country — Leno won last month’s 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll asking which late-night host was most likely to make you laugh, handily beating his latest replacement Fallon, his first replacement O’Brien, David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel, and Craig Ferguson. But the media doesn’t like Leno so much, having pegged him decades ago as the closet-hiding, eavesdropper who backstabbed their late-night crushes Letterman and, later, O’Brien.

Related: ‘Tonight Show With Jay Leno’ Sets Final Guests As NBC’s Bob Greenblatt Addresses Jay Leno’s Future, Possible Car Show
Read More »

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Jay Leno’s Last ‘Tonight Show’ Tuesday

By | Wednesday February 5, 2014 @ 3:05am PST

On Jay Leno‘s last Tonight Show Tuesday, some of Jay’s favorite guest appearances were shown: President Obama reminiscing about when he and Donald Trump grew up together in Kenya, John Kennedy Jr. and Jerry Seinfeld reminiscing about Seinfeld’s Contest’s episode, former President George W. Bush giving Jay a … Read More »

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‘Tonight Show With Jay Leno’ Hits Best Monday Ratings Since 2010 Return

By | Tuesday February 4, 2014 @ 7:14am PST

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno - Season 22 He’s in the last week of his stint as host of The Tonight Show, but Jay Leno  isn’t going quietly. Three nights after delivering his highest overnight ratings since President Obama was a guest in October 2012, Leno matched Friday’s rating with a 3.9/10. It marked the best Monday result since the late-night host returned to The Tonight Show in 2010; Leno pulled a 5.4 when he took the show over again on Monday, March 1, 2010. Last night guests were Leno’s successor Jimmy Fallon and 92-year-old Betty White. The ratings results left Leno’s 11:30 PM rivals far behind: A Late Show With David Letterman encore on CBS got a 2.3/6, while Jimmy Kimmel Live on ABC garnered a 2.2/6 in 56 metered markets. Leno has the Oscar-nominated Matthew McConaughey, NBA legend Charles Barkley and Lyle Lovett scheduled as guests tonight.

Related: Jay Leno Hazes Jimmy Fallon On ‘Tonight Show’: Video Read More »

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UPDATE: Jay Leno Hazes Jimmy Fallon On ‘Tonight Show’ (Video)

By | Monday February 3, 2014 @ 9:33pm PST

JayLeno__130320220248Jimmy Fallon is here tonight. He’s not here to talk — he’s helping me pack,” Jay Leno told his audience tonight on his final Monday as anchor of NBC’s Tonight Show.  “You know Jimmy starts as new host of Tonight Show on the 17th – and it would be strange if there was some accident and he was not able to … fulfill his duties as host,” Leno joked. Also guesting tonight: Betty White. “Betty White is 92 –  in TV terms, Betty has lived through through six Tonight Show hosts,” he observed.

Related: ‘Tonight Show With Jay Leno’ Hits Best Monday Ratings Since 2010 Return

“You were lucky to get out of New York today — huge storm,” Leno began when Fallon came out and sat down. “Yeah. Had to be here. Your last week. This means a lot to me,” Fallon said, with no trace of irony. “Did you watch the game?” Leno asked, in re Sunday’s Super Bowl. “I missed a little … because I was flying,” Fallon admitted. “You’re on the cover of my bible – Men’s Health,” Leno said, producing a copy of the issue. “Something made me smile about this. … Is that a gold chain around your neck?” Leno teased, pointing to the cover photo of Fallon.  “And, it’s a little touched up.”

Related: TCA: Jimmy Fallon Announces First ‘Tonight Show’ Guests, Talks Jay Leno Transition
Read More »

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Jimmy Fallon Hands Over Legendary Pickle To His ‘Late Night’ Successor Seth Meyers

By | Tuesday January 28, 2014 @ 7:00pm PST

Jimmy Fallon carried on the Late Night host tradition, handing off the legendary plastic pickle to his successor Seth Meyers during Meyers’ appearance Tuesday on Late Night. The pickle was passed on to Fallon from Conan O’Brien when Fallon took over Late Night in 2009. O’Brien had … Read More »

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Jay Leno On Double Departures From NBC’s ‘Tonight Show’: “I Got Blindsided”

By | Sunday January 26, 2014 @ 3:58pm PST

jaylenoJay Leno says farewell – again – to the Tonight Show desk on February 6, just four years after returning to the NBC show after the network booted him in favor of Conan O’Brien. “First time, I got blindsided,” Leno told 60 Minutes in an exit interview airing Sunday. The network gave him notice in 2004 that he’d be out after another four years. “‘You’re fired four years from right now,’” he recalled being told. “I said, ‘Sure.’ I said at the time I was going to do a half hour. And I believe Conan was going to follow later. He didn’t want to do that. He quit. And so they gave me the show back.” After a disastrous run on primetime in 2009 with The Jay Leno Show, NBC gave Leno back the Tonight Show chair. Last April they announced they were ousting Leno again in favor of the younger Jimmy Fallon. “It’s not my decision,” said Leno. “And I think I probably would have stayed if we didn’t have… an extremely qualified, young guy ready to jump in. If they said, ‘Look, you’re fired. We don’t know who we’re going to get. We don’t know what we’re going to put in there. But anybody but you, we just want you out of–’ I would be hurt and offended. But this makes perfect sense to me. I understand this.”

Related: NBC Sets ‘Tonight Show’ Transition With Jimmy Fallon Taking Over In Spring 2014 Read More »

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Mitt Romney Slow Jams The News On ‘Late Night With Jimmy Fallon’: Video

By | Saturday January 25, 2014 @ 9:50am PST

Mitt Romney was game for some self-deprecating self-promotion last night when he hit the late night stage to slow jam the news with Jimmy Fallon. Romney’s on the campaign trail for Mitt, the new Netflix docu tracking his two bids for Presidency. … Read More »

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Jay Leno & Jimmy Fallon Slated For Joint Interview With Matt Lauer On ‘Today’

By | Friday January 24, 2014 @ 4:11pm PST

jay_leno_jimmy_fallon_horizontal_a_lDeparting Tonight Show show host Jay Leno and his successor Jimmy Fallon will sit down with Matt Lauer in their first joint interview set to air January 27 on Today. According to NBC, Leno and … Read More »

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Michelle Obama To Guest During Jimmy Fallon’s Premiere Week As ‘Tonight’ Host

By | Friday January 24, 2014 @ 12:20pm PST

Michelle Obama will join Jimmy Fallon on February 20Michelle Obama during his premiere week as the new Tonight Show host. This isn’t Obama’s first visit with Fallon. She first appeared on Late Night in 2012 when she joined … Read More »

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‘Tonight Show With Jay Leno’ Sets Final Guests As NBC’s Bob Greenblatt Addresses Jay Leno’s Future, Possible Car Show

By | Sunday January 19, 2014 @ 11:03am PST
Nellie Andreeva

Jay-Leno-and-Billy-Crystal-735346UPDATED: February 2014 will feel a lot like May 2009 on The Tonight Show. In 2009, when Jay Leno bid farewell to the late-night show for the first time, his final two episodes featured his first guest … Read More »

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Biggest L+7 Gains Ever For Jimmy Fallon-Hosted ‘Saturday Night Live’

By | Tuesday January 7, 2014 @ 12:41pm PST

We already knew the teaming offallon-timberlake__131222173607 Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake was ratings gold for SNL and NBC. The December 21st edition of Fallon-hosted Saturday Night Live with musical guest Timberlake generated the show’s biggest increase ever … Read More »

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Hot Late Night Promo: ‘The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon’

Jimmy Fallon takes over the Tonight Show chair on February 17. Watch NBC‘s first promo teasing Fallon’s debut and 60 years of The Tonight Show under hosts Steve Allen, Jack Paar, Johnny Carson, Jay Leno, and as commemorated for blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment in … Read More »

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UPDATE: NBC “Taking Every Precaution” In Wake of Russian Violence Walking Up To Sochi Olympics

LisaColumn__131015210634-275x198UPDATE, 11:19 AM: “The safety and security of our employees and guests has always been our top priority,” a spokesman for NBC Olympics said in a statement issued to the media. “We are taking every precaution to ensure their safety, including working with numerous domestic and international government security agencies on an ongoing basis.”

PREVIOUS, 10 AM: Will Jimmy Fallon‘s debut as NBC‘s new 11:35 PM funnyman — carefully orchestrated to take advantage of the network’s Sochi Winter Games ratings harvest — turn into a made-for-TV event out of step with what may be shaping up as one of the most dangerous Olympics in recent history? NBC has not said anything publicly as to whether it has any plans to beef up security after two bombings in the southern Russian city of Volgograd. Authorities suspect the bombings may be the work of a Fallon and LenoChechen separatist group that has pledged to violently disrupt the Winter Games. The two bombings, which left at least 31 dead and more than 60 wounded, came less than six weeks before the competitions in Sochi, and have left some questioning whether terrorist violence will supersede athletic rivalry as the big story of these Olympics.

Jay Leno, who is being replaced by Fallon as host of Tonight to coincide with the Games, will take the desk for the last time on February 6; the Games begin February 7 and run though February 24. Fallon is scheduled to debut as new host of Tonight on February 17, when Games viewing levels on NBC should be high.
In the most recent blast, an explosion hit a trolley bus during the Monday morning rush hour in the Volgograd, which is about SochiOlympicsNBC400 miles northeast of Sochi. That came one day after a bombing at the city’s main train station. The two attacks come several months after the leader of a Chechen separatist group promised to attack the Games, calling them “satanic,” and adding, in a video that,  “They plan to hold the Olympics on the bones of our ancestors, on the bones of many, many dead Muslims, buried on the territory of our land on the Black Sea.”
The two most recent bombings follow a blast last Friday, in which a car bomb killed three people in the Russian city of Pyatigorsk, 170 miles east of Sochi.

“What does Russian bombing mean for [Olympics] security worries?” NBC News wondered in a report following the two most recent bombings, adding “security officials around the world are concerned about terrorist attacks at the Olympic Games.” In its report, NBC News cited its counter-terrorism analyst Michael Leiter. “Since these Games were first awarded to Russia several years back, people were worried because of the long-standing conflicts,” Leiter said. “This type of mass transit is what officials are most concerned with.”

But Russian Olympic Committee chief Alexander Zhukov said Monday there was no need to take any extra steps to secure Sochi in the wake of the Volgograd bombings, as “everything necessary already has been done,” NBC News also reported. Read More »

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‘Saturday Night Live’ Delivers Big Ratings With Jimmy Fallon & Justin Timberlake

By | Sunday December 22, 2013 @ 9:37am PST
Nellie Andreeva

fallon-timberlakeJustin Timberlake has been the biggest Saturday Night Live ratings draw of the last decade. Jimmy Fallon is one of the most popular SNL alums whose frequent collaborations with Timberlake have created a slew of … Read More »

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