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NBC Denies 'Tonight Show' Deal with Jay Leno

CNBC.com and Wires
Thursday, 14 Jan 2010 | 5:17 PM ET

NBC denied a report on a gossip Website that Jay Leno has reached an agreement with NBC to return to the "Tonight Show."

Jay Leno
AP
Jay Leno

Tracy St. Pierre of NBC Entertainment said the report on TMZ.com that Leno had struck a deal with NBC to take over the 11:35 pm to 12:35 slot from the current host, Conan O'Brien, is not true.

Leno, who left the "Tonight Show" last year, recently saw his 10 pm show canceled by NBC because of low ratings. NBC decided to move Leno back to the 11:35 pm slot and move the "Tonight Show" to just after midnight.

That angered host O'Brien, who said earlier this week that he would leave the show rather than have the time slot changed.

Meanwhile, NBC said that new and veteran NBC dramas and a comedy produced by Jerry Seinfeld will take over the bulk of the prime-time slots soon to be vacated by Leno.

NBC announced Thursday that the freshman drama "Parenthood" and the relocated "Law & Order" and "Law & Order: Special Victim Units" will fill three slots. Another will go to the comedy panel series "The Marriage Ref" from Seinfeld.

"Dateline NBC" will fill another 10 p.m. EST slot. The new lineup will debut after NBC's coverage of the Winter Olympics from Feb. 12-28.

NBC is owned by General Electric , which is also the parent company of CNBC. Comcast is in the process of buying a controlling interest in NBC from GE.

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