NBC to Move Jay Leno Up to 10 p.m. Spot

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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.