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Jay Leno Gets Primetime 10PM Spot on NBC

jayleno-72308He may be losing his late-night hour on NBC, but Jay Leno isn’t leaving the network.  NBC today announced that The Tonight Show host Jay Leno will be moving into primetime with The Jay Leno Show. The five night a week series will begin fall 2009 and air from 10-11pm ET.

“As broadcast television continues to change, success demands a new paradigm,” said Jeff Zucker, President and CEO, NBC Universal. “For the past few years, we’ve been very vocal about two things: Transforming broadcast television for today’s media landscape, and keeping Jay at NBC. In this one announcement we have done both. It’s great for NBC, for our viewers, and for our advertisers.”

“Jay has played a major role in defining NBC’s brand of high-quality entertainment,” said Silverman. “The 10 o’clock hour will bring Jay a whole new audience and provide a great lead-in both for our local affiliates and for Conan O’Brien, the next great host of The Tonight Show.”

Jay Leno signs off as the host of The Tonight Show on May 29, 2009.  Late Night host Conan O’Brien will take over hosting duties on June 1, 2009, while Jimmy Fallon will take over O’Brien’s spot on March 2, 2009.

The full press release follows after the jump.

JAY LENO COMES TO PRIMETIME ON NBC

The Jay Leno Show Will Air Five Nights a Week at 10/9 CT

First-Ever Primetime Stripped Entertainment Program On Broadcast Network Television

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. – December 9, 2008 – Jay Leno will host a new comedy/talk show on NBC five nights a week in primetime, beginning in the fall of 2009. The show will originate from Burbank, Calif., and will air Monday through Friday, 10-11 p.m./9-10 p.m. CT. The announcement was made today by Ben Silverman and Marc Graboff, Co-Chairmen, NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios. This show will be the first-ever entertainment program to be stripped across primetime on broadcast network television.

“As broadcast television continues to change, success demands a new paradigm,” said Jeff Zucker, President and CEO, NBC Universal. “For the past few years, we’ve been very vocal about two things: Transforming broadcast television for today’s media landscape, and keeping Jay at NBC. In this one announcement we have done both. It’s great for NBC, for our viewers, and for our advertisers.”

“Jay has played a major role in defining NBC’s brand of high-quality entertainment,” said Silverman. “The 10 o’clock hour will bring Jay a whole new audience and provide a great lead-in both for our local affiliates and for Conan O’Brien, the next great host of The Tonight Show.”

“Clearly, today’s viewers have an appetite for live, topical programming, and that’s what we’re bringing to primetime,” said Graboff. “This innovative deal plays to NBC’s strengths as the late-night leader for more than 14 years. The network will be home to three of the biggest names in TV: Jay, Conan and Jimmy.”

“This is the greatest all-star comedy lineup in the history of television,” said Rick Ludwin, Executive Vice President, Late Night and Primetime Series, NBC Entertainment. “And it happened because topical comedy is in the DNA of NBC and has been for decades.”

Leno will sign off as host of The Tonight Show on May 29, 2009. His new show will showcase many of the features that have made Leno America’s late-night leader for more than a dozen years. Signature elements will include his opening monologue and well-known comedy segments “Headlines,” “Jaywalking” and “Battle of the Jaywalking All-Stars.”

As previously announced, Conan O’Brien will take over The Tonight Show hosting duties on June 1, 2009, broadcasting from the state-of-the-art studio currently under construction on the Universal lot. O’Brien will continue an unmatched late-night legacy that includes Steve Allen, Jack Paar, Johnny Carson, and, for the last 16 years, Jay Leno. Jimmy Fallon will assume the role of host of Late Night on March 2, 2009.

Since becoming host of The Tonight Show on May 25, 1992, Leno has experienced numerous highlights, including winning the 1995 Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy, Variety or Music Series. Most recently, Leno was nominated for an Emmy in 2008 for his popular internet show “Jay Leno’s Garage,” which allows fans a peak into his famous garage by logging on to http://www.jaylenosgarage.com. Prior to becoming host of Tonight, Jay had been the exclusive guest host on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson since September 1987. He first appeared as a guest on the show March 2, 1977, and he made numerous additional appearances on Tonight as well as on NBC’s former program Late Night with David Letterman.

One of the country’s premier comedians, Jay has performed thousands of comedy shows around the United States for the past 20 years. He remains passionate about performing in front of live audiences and appears regularly in Las Vegas, on college campuses around the United States, and in other venues.

Jay has authored two New York Times best-selling children’s books and has published four versions of Headlines, the compilation of books and desk calendars featuring his favorite funny newspaper headlines, and Police Blotter, a book with more humorous newspaper clips involving police stories (book proceeds go to various charities).

Jay was represented by his long-time attorney, Ken Ziffren. The show will be produced by Big Dog Productions in association with Universal Media Studios. Debbie Vickers will serve as executive producer.

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