Jay Leno retirement rumored

Rumors about a Jay Leno retirement have been making rounds recently. Citing unnamed sources, The Hollywood Reporter says the 2013-2014 season could be the veteran host’s last for “The Tonight Show.”

Although NBC denies it, THR speculates that the network will soon make an announcement, probably in May, about Leno’s retirement.

Jay Leno, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel
Photo credits: Lee Stranahan (Leno); Stevegarfield (Fallon); Angela George (Kimmel)
The move is reportedly aimed at installing Jimmy Fallon, who also hosts a late-night talk show airing weeknights at 12:35 a.m. ET, as host of “Tonight” starting next year to keep up with competition, particularly on viewership from people with the age bracket 18-49.

In January, rival network ABC has moved “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” to the 11:35 time slot.

“The more time Jimmy Kimmel is in that slot, the more the young audience goes that way, the harder it is for Jimmy [Fallon] to keep that audience,” a source “familiar with the network’s thinking” told THR.

According to the website’s source, a soft launch will take place in summer 2014 before a Leno to Fallon full shift happens. If this is true, viewers will get a Jimmy versus Jimmy late night showdown.