i agree leno is the man. wherd u hear he's retiring? ferguson pretty good too
NEW YORK - Jay Leno, the host of NBC's highly successful "Tonight Show" since 1992, will retire in 2009 and Conan O'Brien will succeed him in the 11:35 p.m. slot.
O'Brien, the host of "Late Night" since 1993, has been anxious to have an 11:35 show of his own. NBC risked losing O'Brien, who has built a solid following among the prime market of young males.
NBC, a unit of General Electric, was also mindful that it didn't want history to repeat itself. When Johnny Carson retired as "Tonight Show" host in 1992, after 30 years, the network found itself torn on whether to promote "Late Night" host David Letterman or hire Leno, who had been Carson's permanent substitute host for several years.
In a solution that proved awkward, NBC opted to go with Leno and Letterman promptly bolted to CBS, creating an opening for O'Brien.
Leno has consistently posted higher ratings than Letterman for much of the past nine years. But Letterman has often been a darling of critics, who favor his cutting-edge humor.
Leno had intended to make the announcement on Monday's show, a gala to honor the program's 50th anniversary.
Leno has been on a publicity blitz lately. Many publications - even Fortune magazine - have featured him in articles about the show.