Jay Leno formally announced his return to The Tonight Show on The Jay Leno Show Thursday night, in the wake of NBC’s announcement the network and incumbent host Conan O’Brien had agreed on a $44 million severance package, clearing the path for Leno return to the host’s chair he held for 17 years.
“As many of you know, Conan is leaving the network,” Leno said toward the end of his monologue. “His final show airs tomorrow night; I have chosen to stay on the Titanic. I don’t believe the iceberg is that big… this ship will never sink!”
Leno riffed off band leader Kevin Eubanks to segue into his big announcement.
“Kev… when it does, Kev as it’s sinking you will play us [off]?” Leno joked, before making his triumph official: “Apparently we’ll be back on ‘The Tonight Show‘ March 1 after the Olympics. So that’s pretty much where we are.”