Entire ‘Tonight Show’ Staff Laid Off as Jimmy Fallon Moves Show From Burbank to NYC

Entire 'Tonight Show' Staff Laid Off as Jimmy Fallon Moves Show From Burbank to NYC

All 164 employees are being encouraged to apply for positions in New York

NBCUniversal plans to lay off the entire “Tonight Show” staff — all 164 Burbank employees — when the late-night talk show moves from California to New York City next month, TheWrap has learned.

NBCUniversal notified the California Employment Development Department last month that it will eliminate the positions, a company spokesperson told TheWrap. Layoffs will begin on Feb. 14 and be staggered through April 4.

See video: Jay Leno on ‘Tonight Show’ Ouster: ‘I Was Blindsided'; Compares Jimmy Fallon to Johnny Carson

“We have encouraged those 164 employees to take a look at jobs throughout the company and apply for them,” the spokesperson told TheWrap. Those available positions include jobs at “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” in New York City.

Jay Leno is set to depart “The Tonight Show” on Feb. 6, when his final guest will be Billy Crystal — who was also his first ever guest on the Los Angeles-based program, 22 years ago. Fallon takes over the show on Feb. 17, when his first guests will be Will Smith and U2.

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Seth Meyers takes over NBC's “Late Night” from Fallon a week later. His first guest will be former “SNL” colleague, Amy Poehler.

The Burbank Leader first reported the layoffs. Job loss had been expected with the show's move to the East Coast.

“The Tonight Show” underwent a smaller round of layoffs in 2012, when Leno took a pay cut to preserve jobs.

Editor's Note: This story originally had the wrong date for Leno's last show. TheWrap regrets the error.

  • Andrew

    I think you mean Leno's final show is Feb 6, not Jan 6.

    • krone888

      It is.

  • George

    164 Burbank employees? That's a lot for just one show.

    • krone888

      you'd be surprised

  • krone888

    kinda missing a few details

  • Gue1

    The Editor's Note is very professional. Thank you.

  • Dick Whitman

    Doesn't thIs happen (almost) every month (a show gets cancelled, people are laid off)? Why don't you write articles about every single show getting cancelled?

    • hupto

      Because the shows that get cancelled are replaced by new shows offering new job opportunities. That doesn't apply in this case unless, as noted, they want to uproot their families and move 3000 miles away.

      • leonffs

        But Fallon already has his own staff. Was he supposed to replace his staff with Leno's…?

        • hupto

          No. Technically, all that's happening is his show airs an hour earlier. Seth Meyers’ show is the one getting the new staff.

          • cherrybomb

            Except that the article DOES SAY that there are at least SOME position available at The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon. But yes, it would make more sense for them to apply for positions with Seth Meyer's show.

          • hupto

            True. But Fallon will tape earlier than Meyers, so that could be a factor, especially in families where both parents work, and thus some might elect to stay with the 12:30 show.

          • LA Nwa

            It's on a different coast! And CONAN took the pay cut to keep his staff paid b/c many relocated to stay with the new show. NBC thought he was funnier(He had his moments- he was a writer for years on SNL). They built an entire studio on the Universal lot for the show and use it for storage..

      • Emily

        Expect the same type of job loss happened when they moved the show from New York to Hollywood.

        • LA Nwa

          Only Conan got his employees to relocate their families to come out here, and then NBC AND Jay Leno pulled the rug from under them ALL! Conan paid his employees salaries while they were looking for new jobs, or moving back East.

    • brofilmbro

      Because when a show has been on since 1954 its kind of a big deal.

  • Busko

    What's going to happen to the stage since the show is going to be in NY now?

    • Aaron

      Another company now owns the NBC lot, so it will be used for other productions.

  • WTFkid

    Poor Stuttering John! Wh wh wh wh what's he going to do now?

    • Burphelson AFB

      go back to harassing celebrities I hope. His confrontations with Ted Williams (“Did you ever fart in a catcher's face?”) and Chevy Chase (“Did you set out to make the worst talk show in the history of television?”) were EPIC!

  • Timmy

    f$ck leno. Conan has been and will always be funnier.

    • getaclue

      Yup, this is definitely Leno's fault. He decided to quit the show, he gave NBC a resignation letter. And Conan is funnier, which is why his ratings have always been better than Leno.

      • Justin McElhaney

        U and Nick Martin are idiots…1st Conans best ratings never topped Lenos worst…2nd Conan was never funny to begin with..he was a great writer but horrible performer..just because u write great music doesn't mean you are a good singer…his performances were awful and his interviews and interaction with guests were creepy…Conan was just all around creepy….

    • enosfolly

      Conan is creepy and not funny at all. He is simply silly. His humor is sophmoric and idiotic. Letterman is an egotistic slob and not funny either. Guess you have to have a higher sense of humor to get Leno. He is more of a thinking person's comedian as opposed to slapstick crap.

      • LA Nwa

        Higher sense of humor? You MUSt be JOKING, in which case YOU'RE now funnier than LENO! His humor was great in the begining, then so watered down it became unrecognizable! Letterman is the THINKING person's comedian(and also PICKED by JOHNNY CARSON himself!!! Not Leno). His team had the ego, and the mafia style tactics….bottom line-GOD doesn'tlike UGLY behavior. See you Jay!

        • Nick Martin

          And Conan is brilliant as well and exactly how is he creepy? Because he has red hair?

    • lazyintellect

      Lol, you shouldn't care so much for silly things…

    • elton8410

      Conan is only funnier to 13 year olds. Surprised you are on this site at your age.

      • Nick Martin

        OK, so you are showing that you have never really watched Conan. Most of Conan's bits are brilliant and very complex. His taped pieces are some of the best ever done.

    • Loco Miguelito

      So I imagine that you find Dennis Miller and Karl Rove funny also? Whatever works for you Homie. How about Mother Theresa when she was a star?

  • bbaaspencer1 .

    They can use Jay's set as a hotline and man it with 100 telephones for angry Democrats that can call in and complain about Obamacare!

    • hupto

      Way to stay on-topic. And with 11 million already signed up and millions more coming, Obamacare is only a “failure” to the GOP and their sugar daddies in the pharmaceutical and insurance companies, whose days of gouging hard-working Americans are finally coming to an end.

      • enosfolly

        Do you have difficulty in traffic with blinders on?

        • MuhammedAllah

          Actually, thats for horses, not horses arses!

  • MuhammedAllah

    Its not Lenos fault, its NBC's! And why dont you Jay haters get a life! He won the Tonight Show job, hes succeeded at it beyond anyones wildest dreams, and now hes leaving, again! Go spank it to Lefterman already!

    • Nick Martin

      Say what you will about Letterman but he came out better than Leno in this whole thing. He has always made more money than Jay. He got to own his show and the show that follows him (The Late Late Show). Jay doesn't own his show. He got to produce other shows like “Eveyrbody Loves Raymond” and most importantly, he's been able to do the show on his terms and leave when he wants without the network constantly trying to throw him off like NBC has done to Leno. Dave should be thankful he didn't get the Toight Show by the way NBC has treated Leno and Conan.

      • Suzanne Rosenorn

        NBC screws everyone. Dave, Conan, Jay. Lettermans was smart to leave. Hes still got a job.

      • MuhammedAllah

        But Jay got The Tonight Show, case CLOSED!

        • Nick Martin

          Yeah but, Leno is fired and Dave is still there until at least 2015 and maybe beyond. CASE CLOSED!

          Leno was dong so bad at first that NBC made an about face and offered the Tonight Show to Letterman and Letterman didn't take it partly because he didn't want to be seen as throwing Leno off (Something Leno apparently has no trouble with), Case CLOSED! Dave was friends with and had the esteem of Carson as well as Allen and Paar, case even more CLOSED! Dave had been a great influence and is the idol of all the other late night hosts: (Conan, Kimmel, Stewart, Colbert, Ferguson, Fallon). Case Closed.

          And Leno really didn't even get the Tonight Show. He inherited Johnny's time slot and the name and Johnny's studio but it was a completely different staff and producers and Leno even left Carson's studio after 2 years. Letterman inherited Carson's producer; Peter Lassaly and many of Carson's staff members so he inherited more of the heart of the Tonight Show than Leno.

          • MuhammedAllah

            You forgot Case CLOSED-Leftermans not as funny, and certainly, not as successful as Leno-Jays led in the ratings for the past 18 years-CASE CLOSED!

          • Nick Martin

            Whether Letterman is funny or not is a matter of personal taste. Obviously many millions of people have thought he was funny for about 38 years. He's had a show for about 34 years vs Leno's 22 years. All the many comedians that have been influenced by him have thought he was funny and unlike Leno, he changed the culture by introducing irony into people's everyday language. He also launched a Late Night show that became very popular where no other show had ever had as high of ratings and which has allowed stars like Conan O'Brien, Craig Kilbourne. Craig Ferguson. Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon to have showa and be popular.

            Rating really don't have anything to do with what is funny or not anyway. Some of the most unfunny shows have been wildly popular and some of the funniest have been cancelled. Seinfeld's first few years were it's funniest when it's ratings weren't so hot. The years it was #1 were it's weakest, least funny shows. Tim Allen's Home Improvement was #1 ('nuff said!)!

            BTW, you obviously only watch shows because they are #1. I watch shows I like and am totally oblivious to what their ratings are.

          • MuhammedAllah

            Ratings have nothing to do with it? Apparently, youre also an MSNBC fan, too!

          • Nick Martin

            OK, now you've exposed yourself for who you are; Just a bitter right wing wacko who is mad at Letterman for making jokes about Sarah Palin. BTW, Leno made the almost same exact joke about Palin's daughter before Dave and yet got zero flack about it.

            Jay may supposedly have the higher ratings yet Letterman's show makes way more money in ad revenues. Isn't that what it's all about for you anyway. Letterman's show is still hugely profitable and Leno's show is losing money (look it up)!

            Leno's ratings have never been light years ahead of Dave's, Dave has always been within 1 million or less (if you believe the ratings are accurate and there's a lot of evidence they are not).

            One last thing, Leno may have had the ratings edge but Letterman won all the Emmys!

          • MuhammedAllah

            Oh yes, Ive exposed myself for what I am-a-gasp-CONSERVATIVE! And in LEFTermans world we are truly evil, right, Nick,,the Dick?

          • LA Nwa

            Leno was funny until he started doing the tonight show..he is edgeless.Not great for a standup…maybe that's why he goes out and does standup on the weekends-his stuff is watered down….ratings means one thing- people in middle America have a box, and like this white guy instead of that white guy. Letterman OWNS his like OPRAH baby. And Leno can hug his piles of cash and his cars if he ever feels lonely- but that would require him to have a SOUL and a HEART! Letterman is HILARIOUS…so that's a matter of taste. You prefer Miller in a can, while I like Champagne… c'est la vie!(that's French). :)

          • MuhammedAllah

            I like Dom Perignon, you like bubbly water! Leno has been KING, much funnier, and LIGHT YEARS ahead ratings wise! Lefterman USED to be edgy and hip, but hes neither nowadays, and frankly, I dont think the guy is funny in the least! BUT, thats our personal opinions, I just look for facts, and results, and Dave doesnt have the audience that Jay had, plain and simple, thats all!

          • LA Nwa

            Dom Perignon IS Champagne genius, and Jay can be YOUR KING but he's NOT mine…Johnny was the Original “King of Late Night” and set the standard…and btw He did NOT choose Jay, He chose Dave Letterman….ratings only means people with Nielsen boxes are watching nothing more. Comedians in Hollywood like Jay in public only-no one will turn their backs on him for fear of being stabbed in the back! Hitler was also a hero to some…until he wasn't… c'est la vie(that's French!)

          • MuhammedAllah

            So, youre comparing Leno, to Hitler? You libs crack me up, if you werent so dangerous, and devious!

          • LA

            Jay Leno wins…..hands down.

            For he has the love of the people. That is something David Letterman will never have.

          • Nick Martin

            Letterman was voted top male host more times than Leno so Leno doesn't win hands down. When people used to make “fan pages” on the internet in the 90's and early 2000's, Letterman had several, Leno had zero. Leno's support has always been a mile wide but only an inch thick.

        • LA Nwa

          And now he is being shown the DOOR. SEE YA! By the time he returns-(if ever) Network programming will be obsolete :)

          • MuhammedAllah

            Hey, NWA-wow you must be a cool rapper, you be fly, my man! I assume Arsenio should have been the late night champ in your eyes, yes?

          • Nick Martin

            Wait, what's wrong with Arsenio? He does a hell of a job with his format. So you are racist as well?

            Remember when Leno's people were keeping guests off of Arsenio? They were told that if they did Arsenio's show they would never be on the Tonight Show again.

            And Jay's such a nice fair guy……!

          • MuhammedAllah

            Not true, to both counts, Nick, I was just making a point-and with a name like mine, do you REALLY think that Im racist?

          • Nick Martin

            Are you saying it's not true that Leno's people was trying to keep guests off other shows?

          • MuhammedAllah

            Yes-same with Lefterman!

          • Nick Martin

            Sorry but Leno DID try to keep guests off other shows. And Letterman never did this. He has always had good relationships with other shows and the other hosts.

          • MuhammedAllah

            Oy vey-you again? I thought my hitmen did away with you-I mean, those mysterious people following you! I guess not, so, you will have to accept the fact that Dave is now the old man on the block, and lame, except for his parts on the Beatles reunion last night-that was pretty cool, him talking with Paul and Ringo. So, I'll leave it at that!

          • Nick Martin

            Hey, I will agree with you. Letterman is a shadow of his former self and maybe deserves the ratings he gets because he has been phoning it in for several years now but he still rises up enough to hit them out of the park occasionally to keep himself afloat and no one is better at just riffing at his desk with no prepared material. In fact that is what I wish he would do more instead of the lame filmed pieces he does which are not that much better than the crap Leno put up. He has basically assumed the same role Carson did in his last few years. As much as I will hate to see him go, I do think it's time for new blood to take over. Expect Letterman to follow Leno fairly soon but unlike Leno, expect Letterman to pull a Carson and disappear completely.

          • MuhammedAllah

            Thats the first thing youve said that I agree on-DL is due to go-hes not funny or innovative anymore!

          • Nick Martin

            Didn't say he wasn't funny but it's true that he isn't innovative anymore but I really don't expect him to be either. The problem is, he is rarely engaged but when he is, he's still the best and he still has his moments but if he can't muster up the interest to be more engaged then maybe its time to hang it up plus I hate seeing him do lame, Leno type humor like the generic filmed video pieces that punctuate his monologue. When he's interested in a guest, he's still the best and he never fawns over the big stars like Leno so sickeningly did and Fallon does in spades.

          • MuhammedAllah

            Hes good with sports stars, since hes def a bigger sports fan than the others, i'll give you that. BUT, doesnt he still throw in his lame “jokes” in the middle of interviews with guests, like his bits and cutaways that have been passe since the Clinton administration?

      • LA Nwa

        Letterman was mentored by THE BEST- JOHNNY CARSON! And HE picked by him to take over The Tonight show!!! Leno wedged his way in, and he is not an honorable guy in MANY eyes for a number of things he has done….now it is time for him to be shown the door- BYE JAY! no tears will be shed for you backstabber. Enjoy your pile of money and 100's of cars..

      • LA

        JAY LENO took a HUGE pay cut so his employees would not have to. Try saying that about David Letterman or any of the others….for that matter. Jay had a heart of gold.

        Jay Leno was the BEST !!!!

        • Nick Martin

          First of all, that “pay cut” was exposed as mostly bogus. Leno's show still fired those staffers. Letterman hasn't fired staffers and didn't have to take a pay cut because Letterman's show makes more money than Leno's did.

          • LA

            Can you ever see David Letterman taking a huge FIFTY PERCENT ( 50 % ) pay cut so his staff would not have to take a pay cut ????

            I cannot.

            I still say…..Jay is simply….The BEST !!!!

          • Nick Martin

            First of all, Leno went from $25 million to $20 million. Not a 50% pay cut. And still 2 dozen Tonight Show staff were laid off by NBC. Unlike Leno, Letterman owns his show and actually took a pay cut in 2009 to make sure he could keep his full staff many of whom have been with him for 30+ years. His current producers started out as interns on his Late Night show in the 80's so he has been very good to his staff. Lets just say that they are both good to their staffs and leave it at that.

            Where Leno and Letterman differ is their ethics in show business. Letterman would have never went behind Carson's back to get the Tonight Show and then maneuver behind the scenes to push Carson out. He would have never let his manager treat Carson terribly during the transition. He would have never hung around with hopes of Conan failing. Remember, when Leno was tanking in the ratings and NBC offered the Tonight Show to Letterman, he turned it down because he didn't want to be seen as taking Leno's job.

          • LA

            So you're telling me Nick, if someone cuts your salary by 50 percent and you take home 50 percent less money than you're presently taking……THAT IS BOGUS !!! ??

            The POINT trying to make is that Jay Leno DID JUST THAT…..I could never see David Letterman even making that kind gesture.

          • Nick Martin

            No he didn't. Yes he took an NBC ordered pay cut to keep the TS budget down but it wasn't 50% and it wasn't his idea and they still laid off the 2 dozen staffers. BTW, the staff that NBC laid off were people that were hired when Leno went to primetime and needed a larger staff. NBC was just bringing the staff down to the size it was pre 2009.

    • LA Nwa

      He didn't WIN it-his producer strong armed her way into getting it for him. JOHNNY PICKED LETTERMAN!!! Carson must've liked guys who are honorable- SORRY JAY! And they were friends!!! Dave had a show FIRST! For Jay the TS has been an ill fitting crown….people have left in droves for years from Leno, while Letterman's musicians hve been with him on TWO networks!For over 25 years! Jay cannot say the same, as soon as they get a chance- they leavehim QUICKLY! Wonder why. I live down the street from the studio, and Leno is going to hell for what he has done- he has NO honor. Feel free to join him!

    • LA Nwa

      David Letterman has the respect of his peers and his character, Leno has his garage full of cars……seems like Dave's ahead imho.

      • MuhammedAllah

        He has the “respect” of libs like you, and Nick Martin, THATS about IT!

        • Nick Martin

          First of all, I'm not a “lib”. Second Letterman has respect across the board from not only his peers but from most of the comedians younger than him. He is revered by young comedians. He is revered by Conan, Jon Stewart, Colbert, Kimmel, Ferguson, Fallon, Louie CK, and the list can go on and on. Leno may have the respect of some of his peers like Seinfeld but most young comedians have contempt for him. That contempt is for the way he went from being one of the sharpest comedians to watering his comedy down to appeal to the lowest common denominator. Like Kimmel said, “He was a master chef who opened up a Burger King.” Letterman will have the legacy, Leno will be a footnote. And it's kind of sad because Leno used to be so good. Even Letterman says Leno was the best he ever saw. Notice the word “Was”! The saddest thing about Leno is he believes people are dumb and he dumbed down his comedy to appeal to them so he really has contempt for his audience.

          BTW, trying to paint Letterman's humor as liberal is totally uniformed. Leno has always called himself a Liberal in interviews and he has always been a much more political comedian than Letterman, becoming even much more on the Tonight Show. Letterman is probably also personally liberal like Leno but Letterman has never been much of a political comedian. He rarely did political jokes on Late Night. He hardly ever did Reagan jokes on Late Night. Since being on the Late Show, his political jokes have rarely centered on any Presidential or Congressional policies like Leno's almost always do. Letterman instead, makes fun of the politician's screw ups and that usually has nothing to do with their policies like Clinton's sex scandal, Clinton being fat, Bush “doing” stupid things like misspeaking, tripping, spitting, dropping his dog etc. He rarely made jokes about Bush's policies. The reason why he hasn't lambasted Obama like he did Clinton and Bush is because Obama is not very funny. He rarely does stupid things like trip, misspeak, etc. When he does, Letterman is there with a joke about it.

          • MuhammedAllah

            Youre reply is so full of BS its not even worth replying about! But I will, lol! Leftermans not political, only makes fun of stupid things politicians do? Yet you only mention Republicans, like his “harmless cracks” about Palin and her daughter? Yeah, thats real funny! Let him do that to Obama-but no, gee, hes not funny! Really? And Biden, a treasure trove of humor in that yutz?You could do whole shows about him!

            Now, Im not saying Jay is some hard core right winger, hell no, hes made WAY too many insults about the GOP, but Dave is MUCH harsher on us! AND many comedians would give their right arms to be on Jay- hes made entire careers for a young comic!

          • Nick Martin

            I didn't only mention republicans. Letterman lambasted Clinton way harder than Leno did. Letterman rarely (almost never) made jokes about Reagan and Bush Sr.

            As far as Palin, Leno told almost exactly the same joke about Palin's daughter (getting knocked up) a few days before Letterman told his joke and Palin and the rest of the right didn't say a word about it but exploded with outrage when Letterman told his joke. So why did Leno get a pass on that?

            Sure many comedians would give their right arm to be on Leno or Letterman (and Conan, Kimmel, and Fallon for that matter) but Leno rarely if ever made an entire career for any comic except for Carrot Top! It was Carson that made comedian's careers followed by Letterman. Letterman has continued to showcase new young comedians. Leno really hasn't carried on that tradition of the Tonight Show and that's another reason Leno is held in such contempt by other comedians. Letterman has made the careers of many comedians including: Leno, Seinfeld, Bill Hicks, Ray Romano, Richard Lewis, Paul Rubins. and many many more.

            Please list the comics that became popular from Leno's show.

          • MuhammedAllah

            The ones you just mentioned were discovered on Carsons show, NOT Leftermans. And Carrot Top was already a legend when he first appeared on Leno. Larry the Cable Guy became a household name on Leno, for instance! Same as Evan Gold. Hes also featured quite a few others who became well-known. Also, most comedians start out in NYC, so Dave has an upper hand in “finding” them, but they will become stars faster on Leno, since, once again, more people watch him on there!

          • Nick Martin

            Wrong! Seinfeld first appeared on Letterman and got very popular before he ever did Carson. So did Ray Romano, Bill Hicks, and Paul Rubins. Louie CK also started as a Letterman writer. True Richard Lewis and Leno were first on Carson but Leno bombed on Carson and wasn't asked back and his career was almost over when his friend (Letterman) put him on his show. Lewis also did Carson first but floundered until he got popular was one of Letterman's regular guests. BTW, who is Even Gold? Do you mean Elon Gold? Sorry but he was discovered by Dana Carvey and did many things before he ever was on Leno and he's not exactly lighting the world on fire as a comedian. And Larry the Cable Guy got popular from the Blue Collar Comedy Tour movie was around and very popular way before he ever did Leno. And New York doesn't have the upper hand. LA is still the comedy mecca. Conan has also discovered many comedians as well. Leno, not really! Letterman continues to be loyal to his friends that came up with him and Leno. He has continued to have Jeff Altman, John Witherspoon, Tim Thomerson, and Tom Dreesen, and Jimmy Walker on.

          • MuhammedAllah

            NYC is THE comedy capital-you cant possible argue about that! It's the home to many comedians since the Borscht Belt days. Seinfeld did NOT first appear of Lefterman-Carson, once again! Larry the Cable Guy wasnt a nationwide household name until he appeared on Jay, THEN he got the BCCT-look it up! Dont you have anything else important to do with your life?

          • Nick Martin

            New York is not the comedy capital. LA is where most of the comedy clubs are. There are no shortage of comedians in LA. It's where Carson had on all of these guys in the 70's-90's. I'll give you that Seinfeld debuted on Carson but he didn't do well and was not asked back for 5 years but instead became popular from his appearances on Letterman. Larry the cable Guy didn't debuted on Leno until 2005 but the “Blue Collar Comedy Tour Movie” came out in 2003 and his TV show, “Blue Collar TV” came on in 2004 and he was on a few stand up comedy shows in the 90's so he was well known before he did Leno.

          • MuhammedAllah

            Wow, hesssss backkkkkk! It took you 5 days to come up with this witty repartee? Once again, NYC has ALWAYS been where all the top comedians first go to get discovered. Maybe they fly off to LA later on, of couse they do, but ALL these guys-and gals-somewhere on their rise to the top, had to have come thru New York at some time. Usually, when they make it, they go west, old man!
            And Seinfeld was ALREADY starring on his own show when he came on Daves OLD show-by the time Lefterman was on CBS, Seinfeld was a legend! So, whats your point. holmes?

          • Nick Martin

            Well, once again you are wrong. Seinfeld first did Carson in 81 but wasn't that good. Johnny didn't call him over to the couch and he wasn't asked back. He then went on Letterman's show in 82 and was a hit and then continued to do it for the next 5 years and was one of Letterman's most popular guests. I've seen Seinfeld in person about 6 times. 3 of those times were in the early 80's and he went from doing a comedy club in 82 to doing a theater in 83, and 84 based on his Letterman appearances. He was introduced as being a frequent guest on David Letterman with no mention of the TS. And they had clips from his Letterman appearances playing in the lobby. He then finally did Carson again in 85 based on his Letterman appearances. Seinfeld's show started in 89 and he had been on Letterman many times before that.

            I have to ask, why do all the comedians head to LA to try to get their break? One of the biggest reasons was because of Carson and the possibility of being discovered on the Tonight Show. Since Leno has been number one in the last 22 years why weren't they flocking there and being discovered on HIS show? Answer: Because Leno did very little to discover or promote new comedians or even music for that matter.

            Letterman has continued to discover and promote new comedians and new music and bands on his show.

            Maybe that's the secret to Leno's success; Only have on well known acts but that is not the tradition of the Tonight Show. And even with well know comedians, Leno never played the straight man for them while they did a sit-down version of their act the way Carson and Letterman have alway done and how Letterman did for Leno in the 80's which is how Leno himself got popular and got where he is.

    • Emma Duncan

      “Lefterman” my, that's clever…

      • MuhammedAllah

        Why, thank you-and true!

    • rlj1010

      Leno succeeded at it, in that he made a ton of money, and consistently won the ratings, but he also watered down the Tonight Show brand, into a dull, monotonous, risk-free bore-fest, for boring uninteresting people who like their humor bland, and super obvious. It's 2014 and the dude still makes OJ Simpson and John Wayne Bobbit jokes. Nothing more needs to be said. ZERO creativity was going on in Burbank.

      • MuhammedAllah

        Same in NYC, with Dave!

  • Thomas G. Robinson

    Leno's shitty lead in to the tonight show had everything to do with Conan's crappy ratings. When Leno was in, he had the highly rated Law & Order and other top notch ratings boosters as the 10 o'clock time slots to count on. For Conan, he had the lowly rated Jay Leno Show. Every night.
    Thanks for nothing, Jay.

    • enosfolly

      It didn't hurt Fallon's ratings and he was in the same spot. You have to be at least funny to keep viewers. Conan is not funny.

    • jacksays

      The reason Jay's primetime show was canceled wasn't a secret: the local NBC affiliates were threatening to drop it from their schedules because the ratings were so very poor that it was harming advertising for their late local newscasts. Viewers were off watching other networks and not coming back for the 11 o'clock news.

      Btw, no one has mentioned the fact that Conan paid (out of his own pocket) the staff of his Tonight Show that were laid off when Jay moved back.

    • LA Nwa

      Conan wasn't the right fit, but The Tonight SHOW is EVERY comedian's dream what was he supposed to do? Leno's producers operated like the Mafia, and now their time is up. Jay was NOT honorable-HE COULD have stood up and said give Conan a chance….instead he helped sandbag him and shove him out the door First chance he got! He is NOT respected by many as he once was-NO one with a brain will turn their back on him only b/c they don't want to get stabbed!!! That's what Johnny saw…Leno lacks character!!!

  • Nick Martin

    Leno is slimy and a weasel but he really has nothing to do with this. But remember, the same thing happened to Carson's people when Leno took over in 92. There maybe was a few hold overs like camera people and such since the show was still in Burbank but Johnny's staff and band and writers etc. were all out of a job when Leno took over.

    The area where Jay is weaselly is about his supposed pay cut to keep staff from being fired. the reason this happened is his staff grew for the 10 pm show and when he went back to 11:35 those extra staff stayed. Since the Tonight Show now loses money, they had to be eliminated. So Jay didn't look like the bad guy, he said he was taking a pay cut to preserve those jobs but they got layer off anyway.

    On the subject of who's funnier, Jay or Conan; That is subjective and just because Leno got higher ratings doesn't mean he's funnier. It simply means he's maybe more likable or easier to tolerate on a nightly basis than Conan to a certain segment of the population.

    • enosfolly

      You are so wrong. Leno took a salary cut so that employees wouldn't lose their jobs. The band had changed a number of times under Carson. Most bands do not sign long term contracts and don't want to be tied down for such long periods of time. It was their choice to move on.

      • Jay Sucks!

        Yeah, Jay took a “ceremonial” pay cut from $30Mil down to $15Mil, what a humanitarian, and yet 12 staffers were still laid off. He's a self absorbed cretin that's only concerned with looking like either the victim and/or the guiltless good guy. For a 2nd time, he agreed to step down from the Tonight Show helm, only to whine about how it “Wasn't his decision” & “Would have stayed longer” only as the end neared. THEN WHY AGREE TO STEP DOWN? He used to be one of the funniest stand-ups in the country, but he sold out to slack jawed hillbillies who couldn't comprehend his true act. Good riddance you heal!!

        • enosfolly

          Everytime a show ends staff is laid off. That is the nature of show business. As soon as a movie is through being made, staff is laid off. My family has long been in the business and people in show business are accustomed to going from shoot to shoot. Not a one of them would have stayed had they gotten better offers from other shows. They will not be among the unemployed long, a simple call to their agent or union rep., and they sent to a new location.. He took a ceremonial 15 million cut? You must be in a much higher bracket than I, to think that 1/2 pay of any amount is ceremonial, let alone 15 million. You sound like a real jerk, with such venomous barbs. You are indicating that you seem to have an inside knowledge of the man. He is like any other person, self preservation is any human's nature. What would you have done? With the attitude you display here in simple comments, I would not want to be within fall-out distance.

          • LA Nwa

            I'm in THE BUSINESS, and they may be unemployed for longer than YOU think. Unions don't find us jobs, they simply make sure we get the pay owed to us for work we have already done. Lots of jobs have left the state of CA thanks to higher tax incentives from other states. And you are also correct, if we find a higher paying gig, that may also be long term, we usually do go…wouldn't you? Every job is now like show business; you never know how long it will last and there's no job security. Welcome to the SHOW kids!

          • MuhammedAllah

            Just because youre the janitor doesnt mean youre “in the business”,LA!

        • LA Nwa

          Jay has NO SOUL and the people who like him re welcome to him. Haven't watched him in YEARS!!!! he's got his stacks of $$$$ and doesn't care so…I'm with Johhny…I pick DAVE LETTERMAN!!

      • Nick Martin

        No true. It was reported that many of those extra staff were still laid off and Carson never changed the band. The band leaders changed. Skitch Hennderson (Allen's original TS band leader came back then left again and was replaced by Milton DeLugg and then Doc Severinson. But many of the band members had been there from the beginning and the tone of the band stayed exactly the same. There was never a wholesale band change the way Leno did 2 times.

        • LA Nwa

          The band members left b/c JAY LENO is the DEVIL! musicians know a BAD vibe when they see one. Marsalis left, then Eubanks took off-great musicians both… But Letterman's musician's have been with him on BOTH networks and over 30 years!!!! LENO=the DEVIL!!

    • LA Nwa

      Or that more of middle America has Nielsen boxes likes Jay b/c he is totally without ANY edges! His standup USED to be funny in the 1990's but has been mostly making fun of stupid people(shooting fish in a barrel since they Import them to L.A.). He has NO SOUL! You can love him ALL you want, he's richer than th POPE, but he's still SOULESS!! See ya Jay!

  • Frank Hill

    bring back the lone ranger—roy rogers and the sky king—-I am sick of the guests touting their crap movie or ghost written book and telling each other how beautiful they look——mandy rice davies–chrisiten keeler and peter lorrie were much more interesting—————–and hi five for jack parr

  • Cathy Cox

    I have not watch Jay Leno as much as I want to. Since I am no longer working (my choice) I have been watching more of the tonight show. I have always enjoyed Jay Leno. I have watched Fallon's show as well. I am 57 and I so enjoy Jay and his guests. & I have on occasion watched Jimmy Kimmel. I would watch Jay more than I would Fallon/Kimmel. Wake up NBC. U r missing the wrong demographic; the young don't care.

  • Cathy Cox

    And I don't mean to pick on the younger audience but my child is 34 and she and her husband watch movies and non-network programming. The non-network channels r taking away viewers from the traditional programming networks. They will most likely not b watching the networks. Get a life NBC. Dismissing Jay Leno for those of us that love the show will likely go elsewhere.

  • john boy

    All these remarks about Conan O'Brien astonish me to no end. He was the most inept, jerky, nervous and not funny person doing a monologue I have ever seen. Frankly a bunch of amateur improv folks could be funnier than O'Brien. The fact that he is employed anywhere just amazes the hell out of me.

    • enosfolly

      My thoughts exactly. He always reminded me of the Duracell battery guy. He doesn't even look like a real person. He creeps me out. His humor is just childish silly crap.

    • LA Nwa

      So he's not for you…but he was the head writer on SNL for years. I agree he is an acquired taste, but HE kept his end of the bargain. LENO was NOT honorable, and he lacks character-that's why Johnny DIDN'T PICK LENO as his SUCCESSOR!!!!!BTW Conan started out doing improv…and Leno isn't funny either…but he sure is whiny!

      • krdave

        Who did Johnny pick as a replacement? Jay is Second only to Carson.

    • Admin User

      it's hard to be funny when you're in a bullseye…

      NBC and Leno fcuk3d Conan…

      • jmsarxt

        He got 5million dollars for nothing. I'm so glad I don't have to look at him. REPULSIVE Love Jay AND the Band

  • Ron Lurvey

    The reason I watched the Tonight Show after Johnny Carson left was Jay Leno … I think NBC is making a big mistake … I will change my viewing habits, what I view in the future will not include Letterman, O'Brian, or Fallon.

    • Jackie

      I used to watch Johnny Carson, he was the best, now I watch Leno, he's okay, but can't stand Fallon, won't watch The tonight show again.

      • LA Nwa

        Think you're out of their target demographic sweetie. They figure you're asleep already.

    • MLC

      I totally agree!

    • LA Nwa

      Johnny picked Letterman NOT Leno! Maybe it's time to read a book.

      • Badonkadonkdonk

        Yeah, totally. I don't understand why nobody bothers to read the fricken book.

        • MuhammedAllah

          Who reads books anymore? Why dont you two go down to the local Borders and read your books? Ooops, you cant anymore!

  • alfan

    To cancel a top rated show like Jay Leno I wonder if the execs at NBC were on something??

    • LA Nwa

      He's OLD and now no longer drawing the demographic they're after. Leno also realizes this and is rich enough since he sold his SOUL. But he's available…why don't you have him over?

      • MuhammedAllah

        You have an obsession with Lenos SOUL! Who do you think you are, Joe Hardy, lol? Ask your parents who that is!

      • P Ludwig

        well lets just hope Jimmy draws the crowd……Jay Leno….drew……just saying the over 50's……………….do determine what is supposed to be shown…….ok …I love jimmy Fallon…..but will the 50 plus follow him….I like Jimmy but you have to answer that question,,,,,,Conah…couldn't do it……………………so I guess we will see if NBC has made another bad decison……………………..

        • TerrynHouston

          I only watched Jimmy Fallon because he came on after Leno. I probably won't watch him and turn on Jimmey Kimmel instead. I don't think Jimmy Fallon's comedy is as good as Leno. I'm over 50 and watched Leno every nite. I actually went to see the show in person on my birthday one year. Jay was number 1, wasn't greedy with money. Who else would take a pay cut himself to avoid layoffs for his staff. What a Guy. Why do they want to appeal to a younger audience when he is number 1. Doesn't that show they were doing something Right.

          • RS1983

            They want to appeal to a younger crowd because the purpose of television is to sell advertising…that's how networks make $$$. Companies figure people in your age range have already made up their minds over the course of their lives about which products they want to buy. There can only be so many Viagra commercials during his time slot, and if advertisers are concerned they are not reaching their target demographic then I'm sure they had a hand in him leaving the show.

    • Badonkadonkdonk

      Yeah, they were on to the fact that the guy is a total douche.

      • P Ludwig

        Jay Leno is one of the greats……….

        • rlj1010

          Great bores!

    • MuhammedAllah

      Yeah, must be Walter Whites Blue Meth-oops, thats not right- if they were, they would have kept Jay, AND not passed on BB!

      • LA Nwa

        He's still a DOUCHEBAG!

        • MuhammedAllah

          Who is, Lefterman, or YOU?

          • Avril111

            my Aunty Julia got silver Volkswagen Beetle
            Convertible by working parttime off of a home computer… Look At This

          • MuhammedAllah

            Gee, thanx for that observant critique, Avril!

          • Pi10107


        • P Ludwig

          are you calling Jay Leno a douchebag…..becauese if you are..i just want to say you are one of the biggest douchebags alive!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! your a roach…………..dumb ass.

          • LA Nwa

            You and Muhammad alloss can suck it. Did I work on the show and have a different tale to tell? You'll never know…You idiots believe whatever you're told anyway.He's available call him up and hang out for coffee.Or Dumb Perino (so original).I'll be watching the late night guy Carson picked…ciao (That's Italian)!

          • MuhammedAllah

            Youre about as Italian as LEFTerman, LA!

          • krdave

            We all know what LA stands for, and we know what Nwa used to stand for.

          • rlj1010

            Don't you dare misuse YOUR/YOU'RE and then have the audacity to call someone else dumb!

    • P Ludwig

      That's my exact thought…….what the heck are they thinking….we love Jay Leno………..I really like Jimmy fallon….but sometimes you should leave well enough alone…………………………………………just saying

    • Will3232

      It wasn't top rated.

  • Former Viewer

    I am somewhat surprised by all the movement in late night television. I watched Jack, then Johnny, then switched back and forth between Dave & Jay depending on who was having a good night. The others I have tried to listen to, and find them sophmoric as was Conan. There is so much talent out there in comedy, magic, dance, etc. is it so hard to really do a talent scout and come up with fresh folks more qualified? Throw a late night talent show competition, and see what bubbles to the surface!

    • enosfolly

      Young talent has different goals. They don't want to settle down to long term contracts limiting their opportunities. I watched Allen, Parr, Carson and Leno, and I will watch Fallon, but not as regularly. You are right, sophmoric was exactly how I described Conan. Not funny at all. Immature humor.

    • bob the man

      Seriously, THAT would be entertaining, American Idol for the next late night show host, winning prize is a contract

    • RShaw

      Problem is, not everyone wants to do the daily grind, even if it is a steady, dependable paycheck. I'm just guessing it can get to be a soul-killing corporate shill type of job. “Let's watch a clip” — yawn.

  • TheWookie

    Get over it!

    • enosfolly

      Right, they all come and go. Programs before their time, hosts we get use to. I am a woman but was totally outraged when they fired the Men's Wearhouse originator and spokesperson. We just hate to see our comfort rattled.

  • Jason

    Jay Leno has gone down hill for years now …good riddings

    • Christina_bdba

      Funny that his ratings haven't at all. They will crater when Fallon takes over guarantee it.

    • MuhammedAllah

      Riddings? Dont you mean Riddence?

      • RShaw

        riddance…but you did better

        • MuhammedAllah

          Yes, we're both idiots, but it didnt take me 13 days ago to figure that out, lol!

  • Deb Kelly

    I think NBC Will be surprised when ratings go down. I may not be in the younger age category but young people don't have money to buy things advertised. I know it was a big deal that older people, the ones not wanted were the ones watching.

  • enosfolly

    Can;t stand Letterman or Conan. Fallon is bit okay, but won't get me to view it regularly. Leno, like Carson, had some class, and I will miss him, even if I am getting more sleep.

    • LA Nwa

      LENO has NO CLASS and NO SOUL. But He's available. You should have him over…just don't turn your back on him! lol

      • LA

        Jay Leno has more class than you have in your pinky. He has more soul than all of the other late night hosts combined. He was very well loved by everyone…staff, guests, audience and viewers. He treated his staff as if they were his family.

        How in the world can you say Jay Leno has no class and no soul ??? You are CRAZY !!!!

  • gomy

    Fallon's first guest is Will Smit. That is the worse choice any person can make. This shows that Fallon will fail. So many interesting people to chose from and they book Will Smith. How stupid can you be. Does any person really cares about Will Smith? No. Wrong, wrong, wrong. I will not wacth Fallon, just because of his choice of Will Smith. I will watch David Letterman.

    • Burphelson AFB

      I'm going to watch River Monsters. That quirky Brit fisherman is way more interesting than Fallon.

    • DaTruthIsHere

      Yeah, imagine middle class people caring about a self made superstar… maybe they're better off looking up to Honey boo-boo. Give me a break… you are obviously not in the demographic they want to reach.

    • MuhammedAllah

      Whos Will Smit?

  • azsoxfan

    Thanks for the memories, Jay. Much happier to hear Fallon is replacing him instead of the goofy redheaded twit. Conan never was and never will be funny. Pissed that I was a procrastinator and never made it to see a taping in the 14 years I've lived out west….

  • Peter

    Johnny was the best. Jay had better guests because he was in Burbank and Dave just pissed off too many people off and they never returned. Maybe now Jay will have more time to shop for a new shirt after wearing the same denim rag for 22 years. Fallon is such a kiss ass. He thinks everythings’ a joke. He'll laugh at anything his guest says for no reason. Talk about trying too hard to join the Hollywood jet set….he smirks and giggles like a middle school girl. At least Jay and Dave will laugh when something's funny. Conan has a brillant comedic mind but comes off a little goofy. Looks like Dave came out the winner.

    • Christina_bdba

      It is not the same shirt. DUH Apparently you have no idea about bikers or how they choose to live?

    • enosfolly

      Right, NY guests are not as interesting or as diverse as the West Coast availability of celebrities, both resident and visitors. NY has transients.

  • Christina_bdba

    I have watched the tonight show since I was allowed to stay up late as a young kid.I do not like Fallon and NBC is making a huge mistake AGAIN.

  • Belfunk2001

    I like Jay Leno, I like Jimmy Fallon. I don't however, think it's a wise idea to move the show from Burbank to NYC. It just feels wrong.

  • delorest

    I don't know why NBC couldn't leave well enough alone….I like Leno and Fallon. I switch stations anyway….depending on the guest line up. Leno's opening monologue is funnier than both Jimmy's.

  • amber99

    Anybody but U2. Anybody's better. Doesn't anyone realize how lame they are?

  • Nick Martin

    One thing I always thought was strange; If Leno's show was so popular, why did they always have such a hard time filling his audience. I used to have to do work in LA in the 90's and 2000's and there was always a booth at the Universal Cty wale trying to give away tickets for that night's Leno. I went to a couple of tapings and there were many empty seats in the back. If you look close at audience shots on Leno, you can often see empty seats up in the back corners. Tickets for Letterman's show, on the other hand, have always been hard to get and used to require reservations for up to a year earlier!

    • edan

      NY v. L.A. NYC get's a lot of tourists looking for something to do. L.A. has plenty to do.

      • stay pressed

        are you kidding? are you saying there's nothing to do in new york?

        broadway is down the street from letterman. lincoln center is up the street. both carnegie and rockefellar are a couple of blocks away.

  • caliban

    SNL is the most stupid show on TV, there is nothing funny about their silly shows and it is only a poor imitation of the SNL of yesteryear. However, NBC is taking al those flunkies to fill spots on their night shows. Bad decision that they are going to regret.

  • judianna1

    I like Jay Leno and I cannot stand Letterman, and Fallon is not funny and Kimmel is just a foul mouthed little man/boy.

    • edan

      I like Letterman. His casual humor appeals to me. I agree with the rest of your post.

  • Dirtybird

    Why not a woman!,,bet that would boost the ratings!!,,,I think Ellen would be hilarious !!

  • Badonkadonkdonk

    I'm so fricken glad Leno is finally going to be off the air. I can't stand the prick.

  • Mia


  • Sue Leber J

    I predict Jimmy Fallon will do good for a week or two and then he will crash and burn on the Tonight Show. The demographics for the time slot are more skewed to an older audience. The younger people stay up later and prefer late night. I hope this comes back to bite NBC in the a$$ again.

  • ray

    Good riddance Leno dumbocrat scumbag……during the presidential election, leno had 20 mitt Romney jokes to satanbama's 1

  • Angusomy

    And the world continues its steady decline….

  • WZ

    George Lopez blew away all these clowns.

  • billy

    NBC is shooting for the younger audience…six months in they will realize this big mistake…many many people do not find Fallon funny, many of his skits go on too long and are not funny, he can't have Timberlake on every night, his sidekick is just dumb….huge mistake you will see….wrong timeslot for SNL crap…

    • Bob

      Nah. Age has nothing to do with it. It's who's good vs less good. When I was in my mid-20s (in the early 90s) I watched Johnny, not Dave.

    • edan

      I totally agree. After the announcement I watched Fallon for a few nights. I either went to sleep or couldn't stop my hand from hitting the clicker.

  • Philip McKanna

    Now that people don't need to work since they have “free” health care, they can stay up late and watch the Tonight Show!!!

    • edan

      Great Idea! Why didn't I think of it?

  • mellow yellow 919

    Leno had a good run… It's time for him to retire. I think Fallon will do a great job.

  • Admin User

    “Fallon takes over the show on Feb. 17, when his first guests will be Will Smith and U2.”

    Stale popcorn, meet stale popcorn.

    U2 & Will Smith – that's cutting edge entertainment for you. In other news, how many facelifts has Billy Crystal had?

  • TerrynHouston

    It certainly is not worth losing 164 people's jobs at a number 1 show. I think the NBC executives should maybe be replaced for making such a horrible decisions. This could ruin Jimmy Fallon's chance too. It didn't need to move up this fast.

  • Brainiacattack

    Guess you guys are really out of loop. Fallon is hilarious and loved by “my age group”. I've been able to recruit some of the older people in my office by showing them youtube videos. Sorry to say it but the time has come and if you don't get it then you still have Letterman.

    • billy

      what'd ya show them, water fights, eggs on the face, or thank you notes, all horrible crap…

  • edan

    I think the real reason for the change. It wasn't a personality issue. NBC wanted the show in NYC. Leno wouldn't have been happy there. Fallon will do okay. I find him silly and boring. But I see some of the Younger Crowd like him.

    • Richard Swafford

      it want hurt fallon at all because he lives in ny and all young people like him because he is 39 and goofy and he tries so hard to act 20 something.

  • hardtruth00

    Leno was bashing Obama to much, so they swapped him out with a far left Liberal. Of course the first thing the Liberal does is kill jobs. Does this surprise anyone?

  • AJ

    I like Jay, but this is a prime example of “what goes around, comes around”. Truth be told Jay helped screw Letterman years ago then went back on his word when it was time to hand the show over to Conan. He put the smudge on his own character as far as that goes. Letterman was the one who was blind sided and handed lemons which he made lemonade out of after asking Carson what would he do in the same situation and he walked. Conan; like his comedy or not his character was good as he looked out for his people financially on the way out. Also NBC is pushing Jay out just like the so called Premier Hospital in Chicago is doing with its older employees who helped build it from two little buildings in 1973 only to be pushed out 2-3 years prior to retirement age. If you are lucky enough you will live to grow older then you will see how much your company cares about you and that it is all about the money.

  • dihck

    The question isn't ‘why are they getting laid off'- it should be ‘How did they manage to produce such a perennial pileofshit with out getting canned sooner?’

  • anonymous

    well, isn't that just special. What a jerk. He couldn't move himself to Burbank to save all those jobs. Moron.

    • downtownboi

      So the all the workers on his show in New York would lose THEIR jobs…..IDIOT!

  • krdave

    We didn't need a special article to tell us that.

  • Justin McElhaney

    I liked Leno and Letterman both but. I think Dave has fallen off a bit over the last few years…I like Fallon he has that sincere but yet almost innocent vibe..he gets so excited when meeting with celebs and even though he's one himself he still gets starstruck…he also comes off humble..he's the type of guy u want to hang out with..and u could see yourself hanging with a guy like that….

  • Lynn

    I miss Jay already no one can replace Carson and Leno!!! The Tonight Show have a style that is like no other show. I hope the best for Jimmy but he was great on his on show! The tonight with out Jay is like Meet The Press with out Tim Russert…

  • Jay

    Fallon suxs…Leno rules…plain and simple…his skits are high schoolish and he interrupts his guests constantly. He needs to remember, hearing is a gift, listening is an art…