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Jay Leno hands over the reins of NBC’s Tonight Show in February, when Jimmy Fallon takes over. But Leno is not a person anyone can see staying out of television long and there’s rumors that CNN is among the parties interested in the comedian’s talents.
Last week, sources for The Hollywood Reporter said that CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker was courting Leno for the news network. Zucker has been trying to shake up CNN since he took over and the network has taken on shows from personalities like Anthony Bourdain and Morgan Spurlock.
Coincidentally, Zucker pushed Leno out of The Tonight Show back in 2009, handing it over to Conan O’Brien. In that infamous moment in television history, Leno stuck around and got a 10 p.m. show that completely flopped. He then took back The Tonight Show, leaving O’Brien out of the picture. O’Brien then moved to TBS, where he is still hosting his own show.
According to EW, CNN reps have denied that they are looking into bringing in Leno. However, he would be a great boost for the network, since he still draws good ratings, even on his way out. Leno also has a friendlier interviewing style than Piers Morgan, so he could attract personalities that would otherwise not want to be interviewed by Morgan.
THR claims that 10 other companies are interested in Leno’s services, including Core Media Group, which produces American Idol. NBC is reportedly still crossing its fingers that they can figure out some way of keeping him at the network.
Fallon begins hosting The Tonight Show on Feb. 17.