Jay Leno Going Back to 11:30?
By PopEater Staff Posted Jan 7th 2010 04:50PM
Jay Leno will be back in his 11:30 p.m. 'Tonight Show' time slot very soon after his rocky venture into 10 p.m. territory, TMZ is reporting. Well that was quick ... and would make a lot of sense given our exclusive report from Rob Shuter a few weeks ago claiming NBC was looking to bounce Conan for Jerry Seinfeld. The switch hasn't been verified or denied by NBC at this time.
PopEater's Rob Shuter reported on December 17 that NBC was courting Jerry Seinfeld to replace O'Brien in the hopes of boosting the slot's sagging ratings. Unfortunately, NBC was unable to ink the deal according to Shuter.
At the time, NBC spokesperson Drew Shane called the claims "Completely false," adding that "Conan is the host of the 'Tonight Show.'" Oh really?
According to The New York Times, " the plan being discussed Mr. Leno would definitely shift back to 11:35 but in a half-hour format, while Mr. O'Brien would slide back his start time by a half hour and then produce an hour-long show."
In a statement obtained by EW.com, NBC is shooting down the shift rumors, saying (without denying any upcoming changes): "Jay Leno is one of the most compelling entertainers in the world today. As we have said all along, Jay's show has performed exactly as we anticipated on the network. It has, however, presented some issues for our affiliates. Both Jay and the show are committed to working closely with them to find ways to improve performance."
Leno himself also weighed in on the rumors, saying during his Thursday show: "I don't think there is any truth to the rumors ... See, it's always been my experience that NBC only cancels you when you're in first place. So we are fine. We are OK." He even joked "What does NBC stand for? Never Believe your Contract."
If the switch does indeed happen, TMZ reports it will likely take place in February after the Olympics.
NBC also said that they are "committed to keeping Conan O'Brien on NBC ... as he has been for more than 16 years and is one of the most respected entertainers on television."
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