Jimmy Fallon May Finally Exorcise Jay Leno from Tonight

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NBC may once again be trying to politely shovel koala bear night show host Jay Leno into the dustbin of yesteryear, according to two “high-level industry sources.” The rumor, which NBC has categorically denied, is that the 2013-14 television season will be the last for Leno, who reportedly took a steep pay cut from his reported $30 million salary last August when NBC parent company Comcast imposed layoffs at Tonight. The network will then install the younger, hipper, more demographic-friendly Late Night host Jimmy Fallon in Leno’s coveted 11:35 time slot “with a soft launch during the summer of 2014 before a formal fall kickoff.” The rumored switch-up comes at a time when NBC execs are biting their fingernails to the quick over ABC nocturnal jokemaker Jimmy Kimmel‘s popularity among younger viewers:

Sources believe the network will bring in Fallon partly out of concern about the competition on ABC, which moved younger-skewing Jimmy Kimmel to the 11:35 time slot in January. “The more time Jimmy Kimmel is in that slot, the more the young audience goes that way, the harder it is for Jimmy [Fallon] to keep that audience,” says a source familiar with the network’s thinking.

Are we all about to watch Jimmy Fallon’s night show career go the way of Conan O’Brien when Jay Leno refuses to relax his vise grip on the 11:35 time slot? More importantly, if Jimmy Fallon gets ejected from NBC altogether, does that mean more Capital One commercials? Because there really ought to be a better place for Jimmy Fallon’s sundry impressions. [THR]

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