Jay Leno left his post at The Tonight Show less than eight months ago, but the veteran comedian is already making plans to return to television. It seems Leno is about to ink a deal with CNBC to host a show about cars (his well-known passion) during primetime hours, not late night. This, according to The Hollywood Reporter, who say the 64-year-old host was courted by CNN, A&E, History and Tribune stations but that Leno wants to remain faithful to the NBC brand. After all, that’s the network that employed him for 22 years at The Tonight Show.
Leno, who will receive the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in Washington on Oct. 19, has never lead on that he would completely vanish from show business. So this move, if it came to fruition, wouldn’t be a total surprise. NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt has said, “Nothing would make me happier than to find ways to keep him involved with this network. That’s really up to him.”
The move back to NBC makes even more sense keeping in mind the network still hosts Leno’s Web series Jay Leno’s Garage (see video) below and they recently aired a special called Jay’s Garage: The Ultimate Car Week on NBC.
Since leaving The Tonight Show in February, Jimmy Fallon has handled hosting duties well, constantly edging out hosts like Jimmy Kimmel and David Letterman in ratings. In fact, The Tonight Show opened the television season with a 15 percent gain over the show’s premiere from last season. It proved to be The Tonight Show’s highest opening week rating in six years.