Kevin Eubanks Mulling a ‘Tonight Show’ Departure

The longtime bandleader will be back for Jay Leno’s March 1 return to “Tonight,’ but it’s not clear how long he’ll stay

Kevin Eubanks is mulling a departure from "The Tonight Show," but will be onstage for Jay Leno’s re-entry to the 11:35 time slot, TheWrap has learned.

An NBC spokesperson confirmed that Eubanks would be on the show through the month of March and indefinitely after that.

But the jazz guitarist has approached the show’s producers about changing his role on "Tonight" so he can pursue other opportunities such as touring.

Though NBC characterized the talks as ongoing, other outlets, such as Extra, have reported the bandleader’s exit as a done deal. K-EARTH 101, a Los Angeles radio station, first reported the story of Eubanks departure.

The jovial musician won’t be the only show fixture exiting the program. Variety reported earlier on Tuesday that announcer John Melendez will be leaving "Tonight.

Eubanks served as "The Tonight Show"s’ bandleader from 1995 to 2009, filling the same role on the ill-fated "Jay Leno Show." He also composed the program’s closing credits, called "Kevin’s Country."