Tuesday, December 9, 2008

NBC moving Jay Leno to prime time: report

LOS ANGELES — NBC television is expected to announce on Tuesday that comedian Jay Leno will start a prime-time weeknight talk show next year after his planned retirement as star of The Tonight Show, The New York Times reported.

Leno's future has been in question since NBC surprised the TV business four years ago by announcing that he would step down from Tonight in 2009 to be replaced by Conan O'Brien, who currently hosts NBC's Late Night show following Leno.

In July, NBC said Leno, 58, who took over from Johnny Carson in 1992, would host his final Tonight Show segment on May 29. But executives at the struggling broadcaster said they were still looking for ways to keep him at the network, a unit of General Electric Co.-controlled NBC Universal.

Meanwhile, a number of rival networks, including Walt Disney Co.'s ABC, were known to have made overtures to the comedian who has long reigned supreme in U.S. television's late-night ratings wars.

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