Allen, Parr, Carson, Leno, and O'Brien. From Reuters: "LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Jay Leno, America's leading late-night comedian as host of NBC's "The Tonight Show," will retire at the end of his current five-year contract in 2009 and be replaced by Conan O'Brien, the network said on Monday.
In the announcement, Leno said he had been planning to turn the top-rated late-night show over to O'Brien since renewing his own contract in the spring. O'Brien is the host of NBC's "Late Night with Conan O'Brien," which immediately follows "The Tonight Show" on the air at about 12:30 a.m.
"In 2009, I'll be 59 years old and will have had this dream job for 17 years," Leno said in a statement. "When I signed my new contract, I felt that the timing was right to plan for my successor, and there is no one more qualified than Conan. Plus, I promised (my wife) Mavis I would take her out for dinner before I turned 60." "
From ABC News: "No decision has been made on whether O'Brien, whose show is New York-based, will move to California for "Tonight," but that's considered likely because its Hollywood connections help in booking guests, particularly since competitor Letterman is in New York."