Leno Continues To Taunt Nbc Execs

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Jay Leno made no mention in his monologue on Wednesday of the reports that he is about to be replaced by Jimmy Fallon as host of the Tonight show. He did, however, continue to twit NBC executives about the network's shabby ratings. Scientists say they are getting closer and closer to being able to do Jurassic Park-style cloning of extinct species, he quipped. Things that were once thought to be extinct could now be brought back from the dead. So there's hope for NBC. It could turn around. Fallon's only reference to the rumors was this: The rumors are true. NBC is turning the Tonight show into a diving competition. Meanwhile, the Hollywood Reporter reported on Wednesday that Fallon phoned Leno out of deference to the hardest-working man in show business. The trade publication gave no indication of what Fallon said in the reported conversation but, quoting a source, said that Fallon is somewhat hesitant about replacing Leno and is especially uncomfortable with all this noise surrounding the reported transition. At New York magazine's Vulture blog, veteran TV columnist Josef Adalian commented that NBC would be crazy to replace Leno. The issue has little to do with whether Fallon would prove to be a worthy successor, Adalian argued, and everything to do with stability. Viewers, he remarked, are showing that they're less and less interested in testing new TV fare and are in fact boosting ratings for some shows with which they're familiar. Leno may not be sexy and he might not be critically beloved, but he has an incredibly loyal audience, Adalian wrote. NBC has been in free-fall in primetime since January, but Leno, he pointed out, has not only held steady, but actually increased his lead over long-time rival David Letterman.



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