Jay Leno said goodbye to viewers of “The Tonight Show” for the second time last night. Leno is stepping down as NBC’s King of Late Night, and making room for rising star Jimmy Fallon. Leno has his detractors, but the one thing he’s always done is come across as genuine to his core fans. His car schtick and choice of denim clothes might not rank him as one of the coolest people on TV, but people always knew what they were getting when they flipped on his show. Here’s a clip of Leno getting choked up as he says goodbye for real this time.
This is Jay Leno, so the question has to be asked. Is this really goodbye? Well bank on this being his last show on NBC, but only a fool would think Leno was going to retire quietly to the golf course. Just think back to the transition between Jay and Conan and its easy to see the passion Jay has to keep working on TV. Jay has been clear that if it was up to him he wouldn’t leave, but he’s accepted the need to move on.
If I was CNN and I was sucking wind with Piers Morgan as my marquee interviewer, I’d take a run at hiring Jay Leno. Leno is the perfect guy for the CNN audience, and a major draw for guests. Jay might take some time off to work on his cars, and kiss his wife Mavis, but he’ll be back shaking that chin at us soon enough. So in a way this was a goodbye to “The Tonight Show”, but not the last chapter in the story of Jay Leno.