On Friday, after 17 years, Jay Leno hosted his last episode of The Tonight Show, handing the reigns over to Conan O’Brien.
For his final moment, he introduced 68 children, including babies and teenagers, born to people working on the show since he took over – something he called his true legacy.
But the veteran comedian isn’t putting his mike away yet. He’s already hard at work on his next project, The Jay Leno Show, coming this fall to Citytv.
“Ten o’clock has become the new 11:30,” he said about his new time slot.
“Fifteen, 20 years ago, people stayed up late. But now, with the economy [people] are working two jobs, they get up early. I meet people even in their early 20s and 30s who say, ‘I can’t stay up till 11:30 anymore.”
The 59-year-old knows he’s entering uncharted territory. There has never been a five-nights-a-week talk show on network primetime. It’s a big risk both personally and for his home network, NBC, which came up with the concept to keep him from jumping to the competition.
He’s up against high-profile dramas and if the show doesn’t work, NBC will be stuck with five hour-long holes to fill.
But Leno intends to fight the good fight, keeping the key elements he believes made his late night show wildly popular: good jokes, good material and good guests. “We just try to keep the jokes coming fast and furious and that’s what people like,” he suggested.
The Jay Leno Show will run Monday to Friday nights at 10pm starting Sept 14th on Citytv.