Jay Leno leaving 'The Tonight Show' in April, could possibly take a gig over at CNN and help boost network's ratings

By Nicole Oran | Dec 19, 2013 04:15 PM EST
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Late night talk show hosts Jay Leno (L) and Jimmy Fallon pose backstage at the 70th annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, California, January 13, 2013.
(Photo : REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

There has been a lot of speculation about what Jay Leno will do after he leaves his spot as host of The Tonight Show and hands the reigns over to Jimmy Fallon. As it was seen previously when Leno was moved up to an early spot on NBC, things didn't work out so well. So where does that leave him?

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Other networks might be trying to call dibs on the late-night host. As Entertainment Weekly reports, CNN might be a viable contender. Even though representatives from CNN haven't confirmed anything, EW says that insiders insist CNN President Jeff Zucker, who used to be Leno's boss at NBC, has met with the comedian to discuss the possibility of a late-night show for CNN.  A Daily Show kind of program could do wonders for the network's poor ratings.

Leno continues to be a hot commodity, and he could potentially provide a more light-hearted angle for CNN, as opposed to Piers Morgan's occasionally confrontational demeanor.

EW reported the stats that back up why Leno still has "it" and might be the perfect addition for CNN:

"Season to date, Tonight is off to its biggest start 12 weeks into a new TV season in three years and continues to beat Jimmy Kimmel and David Letterman. He's up 11 percent in 18-49 viewers (with 1.133 million vs. 1.025 million last season) and up 10 percent in total viewers (3.821 million vs. 3.465 million). Tonight has attracted bigger 18-49 audiences than Late Show for the last 56 weeks in a row and topped Kimmel for 45 of their 49 head-to-head weeks. In total viewers, Jay has out-delivered Late Show for 60 weeks in a row and Kimmel for 49 of 49 weeks."

But NBC isn't saying that they are ready to let go of the veteran late-night comedian. "Nothing would make me happier than to find ways to keep him involved with this network. That's really up to him," NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt told The Hollywood Reporter.

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