6:43pm PT by Michael O'Connell
Jay Leno to End 'Tonight Show' Run on Feb. 6
Jay Leno has an end date at The Tonight Show. The host will air his final episode of the NBC series on Feb. 6, making room for incoming Jimmy Fallon to get an attention boost during the network's coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympics.
News of the final episode comes little more than a week after NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt hinted at a February departure while speaking during the Television Critics Association press tour.
"The big strategic discussions, we've been having those discussions since I arrived here" said Greenblatt. "We knew that we had a platform in the Olympics in the season that we weren't going to have again for four years. We wanted to make the transition when the time period was really strong to give Jimmy Fallon the best chance of succeeding."
Sources confirm to The Hollywood Reporter that executive producer Debbie Vickers informed staff of the end date. They will be paid through the end of Leno's NBC contract, which expires September, 2014. This is not the first time that many at The Tonight Show have learned of the expiration date on their jobs. Leno briefly exited the series back in 2010 for Conan O'Brien's short-lived tenure as host. This time around, however, the show will move production completely -- with Fallon's Tonight filming in NBC's 30 Rock headquarters in New York City.
Next September is not necessarily the end of Leno at NBC. Greenblatt also recently addressed the possibility of keeping him on at the network in some capacity.
"Nothing would make us happier than to have him -- a la Bob Hope -- stay on the network," said Greenblatt. "Jay has done an incredible job for more than two decades... He's actually one of the nicest people you will ever meet. And he's been a great team player in all of these transitional discussions."