Jay Leno is going out with class.
Wrapping up a strong, 17-year run as the host of the top-rated Tonight Show — which he called “the most wonderful job ever in show business” — Leno will pass the torch Friday to his final guest/Tonight Show successor, Conan O’Brien.
Leno, who has praised O’Brien as “a terrific guy” and good friend, has made the transition — which was announced five years ago — a seamless one, compared to the turbulent passing of the baton he received from late night icon Johnny Carson when he took over the reigns in 1992. O’Brien begins his tenure as the host Monday in a new facility near NBC’s Burbank headquarters in Universal City, Calif.
His next endeavor, tentatively titled The Jay Leno Show, will premiere in September in the 10 p.m. EST slot on NBC.
The veteran comedian said he is ready to take on prime-time.
“It’ll be really tricky,” Leno told the AP. “But we’ll just do the best we can.” (Photo: Reuters)