According to several news stories, including those by credible industry sources such as Broadcasting & Cable and TV Week, NBC will announce today that Jay Leno will take over the 9 p.m. slot on the network every weeknight starting Fall 2009.
Leno will remain the host of “The Tonight Show” until May 2009 when Conan O’Brien, who currently hosts “Late Night” in the time slot after Leno, will take over for the show. Both shows have a similar format, featuring sketch comedy and celebrity guests, which is said to make the transition smooth.
According to Kansas City Star TV critic Aaron Barnhart, the move will be a wise one. He says it “gives local affiliates a sure, stable lead-in to their late local news — you’ve got to think [general managers] everywhere are popping corks after suffering through years of dismal [NBC] lead-ins.”
In other late night news, former “Saturday Night Live” star Jimmy Fallon, who is set to take over O’Brien’s “Late Night” in 2009, got a jump start at the hosting the show by starting his own nightly video blog at www.latenightwithjimmyfallon.com on Monday.
In a press release, NBC says of Fallon’s blog, “Each night, the video blogs will give viewers behind-the-scenes access to Fallon’s preparation to take over on ‘Late Night’.”