With NBC’s The Tonight Show making a transition from host Jay Leno to Jimmy Fallon midway through the season, both versions are eligible for Primetime Emmys. The same goes for Late Night and its incarnations hosted by Fallon and Seth Meyers. I’ve learned that both The Tonight Show With Jay Leno and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon are being submitted by NBC along with Late Night With Seth Meyers, Last Call With Carson Daly and the network’s venerable late-night sketch comedy series Saturday Night Live. NBC was in a similar situation during the 2009-2010 season when both The Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien, which aired through January, and Tonight Show With Jay Leno, which succeeded it, were submitted (O’Brien landed a nomination). Given the fact that Fallon just moved into Tonight Show and is looking to establish himself as host, it makes sense for him only to be submitted for that show. For Leno, this could be the last time he is up for a late-night Emmy. His Tonight Show has been nominated 10 times for Best Music, Comedy Or Variety Series, winning once. Fallon and Meyers’ previous shows, Late Night and SNL, also have been nominated in the top variety category.
Jay Leno’s ‘Tonight Show’ Finale: Billy Crystal’s Celebrity Musical Featuring Oprah Winfrey, Kim Kardashian, Jack Black (Video)
As a parting gift, Billy Crystal and the Shut Your Von Trapp Family Singers sang “So Long Farewell” to Jay Leno. Here is the video featuring Crystal, Jack Black, Oprah Winfrey, Kim Kardashian, Chris Paul, Sheryl Crow, Carol Burnett and Jim Parsons. (Musical number starts after the 2 min mark):
The final Tonight Show With Jay Leno featured two monologues, one by Leno and by his guest and old friend, Billy Crystal, who was Leno’s first guest on The Tonight Show in May 1993, and helped close things out Thursday night. Here are clips of Leno’s final Tonight Show monologue and of Crystal’s routine, which highlighted some of Leno’s best Tonight Show jokes through the years:
Jay Leno’s Final ‘Tonight Show’: Obama Appoints Him Ambassador To Antarctica While Billy Crystal, Oprah Winfrey, Garth Brooks And More Serenade Host: Video
“I don’t like goodbyes – NBC does – but I don’t care for them,” an emotional Jay Leno said, kicking off a star-studded final broadcast show as host of The Tonight Show. “Tonight is our last show for real. I don’t need to be fired three times — I get the hint,” Leno joked to a friends-and-family studio audience as he ended his 22-year run Thursday night. It’s his second very-last-time-as-host — having been pushed aside in 2009 by NBC to make way for Conan O’Brien, who lasted seven months.
“I’ve got to tell you, the outpouring from people has really been touching. Anthony Weiner sent me a photo of his penis looking really sad.”
In sharp contrast to the “last” time Leno celebrated his very last night as host of Tonight Show in 2009 — when, ever the team player, he had O’Brien as his final night’s guest — tonight’s show was packed with celebrities including President Obama. Longtime pal Garth Brooks performed his hit “The Dance.” And a cast of A-listers including Oprah Winfrey, Jack Black and Carol Burnett performed with Billy Crystal and The Shut Your Von Trapp Family Singers, the Rogers & Hammerstein tune from The Sound Of Music, “So Long, Farewell” with lyrics changed to suit the occasion. (Watch a clip below.) The show ended with Leno in tears as he thanked the audience, calling the Tonight Show crew his family and wishing his successor Jimmy Fallon well. (Video at the end of the post.)
But first, Leno mulled exactly how long 22 years is.
- “Here’s how long ago it is. When I started hosting, marijuana was illegal and you could smoke cigarettes anywhere you wanted.”
- “Twenty two years ago, guys actually had to go to newsstands for porn, can you imagine?”
- “So much has happened. You know the saddest part – OJ never found the real killers.”
White House press secretary Jay Carney had some nice parting words for Jay Leno ahead of tonight’s taping of the final Tonight Show With Jay Leno. It’s fitting because Carney’s boss was the first sitting president to appear in late-night. In total President Obama visited Leno’s couch six times, the last in August that marked the show’s best ratings (3.8/10) since his last appearance in October 2012. That stint garnered the best Wednesday numbers for Leno since he returned to the show — until last night’s episode during this final week.
“[Obama] is a fan and he has enjoyed his times on the set with Jay Leno,” Carney said in response to a question during his daily press conference. “And it’s just the end of an era I think for a lot of folks who have watched him on the Tonight Show over all these years. So the President wishes him well. We all do. And like I said, we’ve enjoyed — I’ve enjoyed being with the President in the times he has been out there. And I know he has enjoyed the experience.”
Jay Leno’s last week fronting The Tonight Show has seen the host hit ratings highs not experienced since his return to the NBC gig in 2010. The 63-year old comedian’s second-to-last show last night was no exception with even a bit more. Wednesday’s Tonight Show pulled in 4.3/11 in metered-market households. That’s the best Leno has done since the week on March 2, 2010 when he returned to The Tonight Show gig. In fact, it ties the best Wednesday, the NBC late night show has had since June 3, 2009, the first week of Conan O’Brien’s short-lived stint in the job. In contrast, Leno’s late night rivals the Late Show With David Letterman on CBS and ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live drew a 2.4/6 and a 2.1/5 respectively ratingswise.
Leno had The Voice’s Blake Shelton and a very emotional Sandra Bullock on as guests on his second-to-last show Wednesday. “When I made crazy life decisions, you never questioned it, you were just always so welcoming and every single person on your crew was that way,” the Oscar winning actress told Leno. “You were so welcoming. I just felt special, even when I was insecure,” Bullock, who is nominated …
“Jimmy 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.
“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.”
Jay 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.”
A least one Late Show fan isn’t happy over the fact that longtime rivals Jay Leno and David Letterman have evidently patched things up. In an appearance set for tonight’s Late Show With David Letterman, Howard Stern expressed his disappointment with the détente and the Tonight Show host’s recent revelation that he and Letterman talk on the phone. “I work for NBC television now and I’m not speaking to Jay Leno,” the radio host and America’s Got Talent judge told Letterman’s audience. “They ask me to go on his show and I say ‘No, he did Dave wrong, I don’t like it’ …I’m fighting the war, I’m still in the jungle. Check out the exchange here:
Longtime late night rivals Jay Leno and David Letterman have made peace in the past, although it took Oprah sitting between them to pull off 2010′s surprise joint Super Bowl spot. And while Letterman has repeatedly taken potshots at Leno over the decades, he actually complimented his bitter rival on “a nice long run” this Spring after news of his impending squeeze-out from NBC. And last night on The Tonight Show Leno revealed that the two have been in contact. “We started out together – he still makes me laugh,” he told guest Andy Cohen. “I spoke to him a month ago, we talked about things in TV and what not and what was going on here.” Leno then expressed gratitude to the late Johnny Carson for giving him his break before he inherited the Tonight Show chair (over Letterman), the snub that started their beef back in 1992. Can the ice be melting as Jay heads for the exits – again? Watch it here:
The firebrand lawmaker has been the subject of countless jokes on the late-night circuit in recent weeks, but now he’s ready to give his side of the story. Sen. Ted Cruz has booked a November 8 sit-down on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno. There’s no shortage of topics for the host and guest to cover, so Cruz’s recent blocking then backpedaling on the confirmation of Ted Wheeler as FCC chairman might not come up. He also appeared on Fusion during its launch day this week. Of course, Cruz has been in the news for a few other reasons lately, so we likely can expect some discussion of, oh, the Obamacare rollout, the government shutdown, the debt ceiling, etc. Maybe the Tea Party-backed senator will even have a few zingers to throw back at Jay Leno.
UPDATE: Early Stats Suggest Justin Timberlake And Bill Clinton Topped Paul McCartney Concert In Late-Night Race: Video
UPDATE: 11 AM: ABC did not order rush national numbers for Paul McCartney’s Jimmy Kimmel Live concert/Hollywood Blvd. shutdown. But in Nielsen’s 56 metered markets, NBC’s The Tonight Show (2.9/8) and CBS’s Late Show with David Letterman, with former POTUS Bill Clinton as guest (2.6/7), both out-rated JKL (2.3/6) in households.
In the 25 markets with Local People Meters, Leno (1.0/5) also edged Kimmel (0.7/4) in the 18-49 demo; Kimmel was virtually tied with Letterman (0.7/3). FYI, Kimmel is usually strong in the metered markets relative to final national stats, while Leno is usually flat to a little understated, and Letterman gets understated in the metered markets.
PREVIOUS, 7:18 AM: On the first night of the new TV season, the late-night war escalated between NBC’s The Tonight Show and ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live. While JKL closed down Hollywood Blvd. for a free Paul McCartney mini-concert (two songs for JKL – 13 more for the estimated 10,000 fans on the street), Tonight welcomed Justin Timberlake, who talked about President Obama, but did not perform because, a source said, he felt under the weather. Timberlake is scheduled to perform his own mini-concert for JKL and fans on Hollywood Blvd. tonight. Check it out below:
Paul McCartney closes Hollywood Blvd:
EXCLUSIVE: The Tonight Show With Jay Leno staff isn’t necessarily waiting around for the show’s February finale. Bob Read and LiAnne Read, for instance, are moving over to Chelsea Lately. Bob Read is now supervising producer for Chelsea Handler’s late-night talker, producing all celebrity guests. LiAnne Read is associate producer in the talent department. They both started in 2001 — Bob Read was most recently a co-producer while LiAnne Reed was a talent coordinator
In early August, Tonight EP Debbie Vickers told staff that, per terms of Leno’s exit deal with NBC, cast and crew would be paid until his contract expires next September. The Jay Leno-hosted Tonight Show will air its last episode February 6. It was unclear how many crew and staff were at that meeting on the show’s Burbank lot. At one point it was reported Tonight had about 170 total staffers, including some contract workers. NBC declined comment on today’s news.