Jay’s walking off prime time.
Confirming days of rumors, Jeff Gaspin, the chairman of NBC Universal Entertainment, on Sunday announced that starting Feb. 12, The Jay Leno Show will no longer air at 10 p.m. but that the network hoped to keep Leno for an 11:35 p.m. show, Conan O’Brien for 12:05 p.m. and then Jimmy Fallon after that.
But, Gaspin adds, “It’s not a done deal yet.”
Gaspin admits that The Jay Leno Show “did not meet affiliate needs” but that through it all, Leno and O’Brien have been “incredibly gracious and professional.”
“Beyond that is a private conversation and when it all settles, you can talk to them about that,” Gaspin says. “We’re back in conversation tomorrow.”
When asked why O’Brien would choose to remain at NBC with other networks interested in him, Gaspin says, “Conan’s motivation will become more clear as time goes on. We gave something important to him, which was The Tonight Show, made it clear that it was moving with him. Conan wanted the franchise of The Tonight Show; Jay wanted to tell jokes at 11:30. Still things [need] to be worked out.”
• With reporting from SUSAN YOUNG