The latest rumors going around are that television icon Jay Leno is being forced to retire by NBC. High-level industry sources have informed media outlets that the network is planning to replace Leno with Jimmy Fallon after the 2013-14 season.
The Hollywood Reporter wrote that even though the network has denied this and a representative for Leno did not address the issue saying, "We do not speculate on rumor," it is possible that the 2013-14 season will be the last for Leno as the "The Tonight Show" host. Leno has been hosting the show for the past twenty years with a brief break in the middle.
The website noted that Leno will not be happy with his retirement, especially if long time rival David Letterman continues to host his show on CBS. Both Leno and Letterman have been signed on till 2014.
The sources informed The Hollywood Reporter that they expect the network to formally transfer Fallon from his "Late Night" show to the coveted 11:35 p.m. slot in 2014 with a trial run before that in the summer of 2014.
The insiders believe that this move is being made keeping in view that funnyman Jimmy Kimmel has been brought forward to the 11:35 p.m. slot on ABC in January. Kimmel is known for attracting a young audience and network executives are afraid that the ABC host might take away the viewers from NBC if Fallon is not brought in at the right time, who has a better appeal with the younger viewers.
A source informed: "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." Leno's and Kimmel's shows are neck-and-neck with Leno having the overall advantage. However, Kimmel seems to have an edge over Leno in the coveted 18-49 demographic.
Another concern for NBC is that if Letterman decides to retire in 2014, CBS would probably go for Fallon as his replacement, which could lead to a possible tussle between the two networks.
Only time will tell if the retirement news is true or false. Stay tuned to iDigital Times for updates on the Jay Leno retirement news.