No doubt Jay Leno ruffled the feathers on the NBC peacock, joking early and often about his fate during Thursday’s monologue, following a day of rumors the network was canceling his self-titled show.
“If we did get cancelled, it will give us time to do some traveling,” Leno said. “I understand that Fox is beautiful this time of year.”
He also joked that “NBC only cancels you when you’re in first place,” referring to his Tonight Show ouster, and that NBC stands for “Never Believe your Contract.”
NBC’s late night future remained hazy Friday, as RadarOnline.com learned that network officials Thursday met with both Leno and his Tonight Show successor, Conan O’ Brien, to determine the next step.
Possibilities include: Leno’s show being cancelled altogether; Leno’s show going to 30 minutes at 11 p.m. EST, with Dateline, Law & Order and local news filling the 10 p.m. EST gap; or Leno taking back the Tonight Show from O’ Brien, who would move into a later slot — or leave.
In any event, the current schedule has failed spectacularly, as NBC’s 10 p.m. EST ratings are down 35 percent from a year ago with the abridged late night lineup.