Jay books Conan for final “Tonight Show”


“It’s a peaceful transition of power,” Jay Leno said of handing over the reins of the NBC franchise to Conan O’Brien. Along with O’Brien, musician James Taylor will appear on Leno’s final 11:30 pm ET/PT show on May 29th – then it’s on to the new 10:00 pm ET/PT Leno show this fall on NBC.

Johnny Carson had no guests at all on his final “Tonight Show” in 1992 – but then, Carson was not supportive of NBC’s decision to have Leno succeed him. “I really do like the guy,” Leno said of his successor. O’Brien will take over as “Tonight Show” host on June 1. Leno returns with his new, as yet unnamed primetime show, in September.

In a conference call with reporters, Leno said he will be bringing some laughs to the 10-11 hour, now dominated by dramas. “We’re just going to offer an alternative. This is the long haul. You’re on every single day and you just pound away,” he said.

While O’Brien and Taylor have been announced as guests for the final “Tonight Show,” that still leaves a lot of time and Leno is maintaining some mystery. “We have something unusual, out of left field. Something personal and unusual,” he said.