March 20, 2013 6:34pm PT by THR Staff
Jay Leno Continues to Mock NBC as Execs Debate Timing of His Exit
And the jabs at NBC just keep coming.
On the heels of The Hollywood Reporter's report that NBC executives are in the midst of trying to nail down the right timing for Jimmy Fallon to take over The Tonight Show, current host Jay Leno continues to make fun of the network's ratings in his monologue.
"According to several reports, scientists say they are getting closer and closer to being able to do Jurassic Park-style cloning of extinct species," he says in Wednesday night's monologue. "Imagine that? Things that were once thought to be extinct could now be brought back from the dead. So there's hope for NBC. It could turn around."
As THR reported earlier in the day, some execs are leaning toward a February debut for Fallon to take advantage of the promotional platform offered with the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.Late Night executive producer Lorne Michaels is said to be among those with concerns about a hasty transition.
Leno and his fellow late-night hosts, including David Letterman and Jimmy Kimmel, have a long tradition of ribbing their networks. But, according to a recent report in The New York Times, NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt fired off an email to Leno after a Feb. 28 episode in which the late-night host skewered the network's falling to fifth place during sweeps month.
During the episode's opening monologue, Leno joked about NBC’s fifth-place status: "We are behind the Spanish-language network Univision -- or, as we call it here in Los Angeles, Cinco de Ratings." Other jokes included: "It’s so bad, The Biggest Loser isn’t just a TV show anymore; it’s our new motto" and "It’s so bad, NBC called Manti Te’o and asked him to bring in some imaginary viewers."
Since the NYT report, Leno has made jokes at NBC's expense every night this week, including:
Monday: "You know the whole legend of St. Patrick, right? St. Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland -- and then they came to the United States and became NBC executives. It's a fascinating story."
Tuesday: "Did you hear about this? A 28-year-old woman from Serbia has a rare brain condition where she sees everything upside down. The good news? She's now been given a job at the White House as President Obama's economic adviser.
"Isn't that crazy? It's unbelievable. She sees everything upside down. In fact, she thinks NBC is at the top of the ratings."