According to several in attendance at the annual Television Critics Association 2013 winter press tour on Sunday, NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt has confirmed that Jay Leno's "Tonight Show" contract has been extended beyond its original expiration date of 2014.
TV critic Jim Halterman first tweeted:
Leno's contract just extended. No real talks about any succession plan when he does step down. They also love Carson Daly's show. #tca13
— Jim Halterman (@JimHalterman) January 6, 2013
The news comes after a report last month that NBC was quietly exploring the option of installing "Late Night" host Jimmy Fallon as the host of "Tonight" when the 62-year-old Leno sees his contract expire.
Greenblatt denies that this is the case:
Greenblatt insists there have not been talks with Jimmy Fallon to succeed Jay Leno. "Those conversations are premature." #TCA13
— TVGuideMagazine (@TVGuideMagazine) January 6, 2013
He also insisted that despite ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" moving to 11:35 starting this week, NBC is not worried about Leno's ratings in the time slot:
"Jay has proven surprisingly resilient," says NBC guy, who knows from having to fight off the Leno drones. #tca13
— Todd VanDerWerff (@tvoti) January 6, 2013
Leno has been hosting "The Tonight Show" since 1992, except for a brief period in 2009-10 when Conan O'Brien hosted the program and Leno was given a low-rated prime time talk show. NBC's decision to reinstall Leno in favor of O'Brien was widely seen as a PR disaster.