NBC will reportedly pay Jay Leno $15 million, the amount of his salary, to leave The Tonight Show months ahead of his contract expiring. Leno, who has hosted the show for 22 years, wasn’t supposed to step down until September 2014, but accepted an early offer while NBC works to pave the way for his replacement, Jimmy Fallon, according to a Washington Times story.
The late-night host made the much-awaited announcement 4/3, joking that he’s “counting on” Mr. Fallon to keep the network’s ratings high.
“I just have one request of Jimmy. We’ve all fought, kicked and scratched to get this network up to fifth place, OK?” he said in his monologue. “Now we have to keep it there. Jimmy don’t let it slip into sixth. We’re counting on you.”
Industry insiders predict Fallon will see his $5 million salary for hosting “The Late Show” boosted to $12 million when he goes up against CBS’ David Letterman and ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel, the Daily Mail reported