Jay Leno’s absence from NBC will be a short one — about three and a half months, to be exact.
The network announced Tuesday that The Jay Leno Show — the former Tonight Show host’s nightly prime-time comedy and talk show — will premiere Monday, Sept. 14. That’s a day after the Primetime Emmys and a week before what’s likely to be the official start of the 2009-10 TV season.
Leno hosted his final “onight Show on Friday, and new host Conan O’Brien took over Monday. He’ll now have 15 weeks to retool his Burbank studio for the new show, which will keep some of the features of his Tonight tenure — a sizable monologue and familiar comedy bits like Headlines — while incorporating some new elements.
The time in between Leno’s Tonight sign-off and the debut of the new show is about the same as what O’Brien had in between leaving Late Night in February and hosting his first Tonight Show Monday. Leno hasn’t given too many specifics about the new show, saying in interviews before last week that he was focusing on finishing The Tonight Show on a high note.
He was able to do that, as Friday’s show recorded the best overnight ratings for a Friday show for all of Leno’s Tonight tenure. It was the highest-rated Tonight broadcast on any night since President Obama appeared in March.