With all of the rumours swirling that Jimmy Fallon is poised to take over Jay Leno when his contract expires next year, you would think Leno might be more careful in who he tackles during his show’s opening monologue. Turns out, NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt wasn’t a huge fan of the nightly bash recently, when Leno mocked his own network for coming in fifth place in the ratings during February sweeps, behind Latin American station Univision.
“We are behind the Spanish-language network Univision — or as we call it here in Los Angeles: Cinco de Ratings,” Leno joked. “It’s so bad The Biggest Loser isn’t just a TV show anymore, it’s our new motto … It’s so bad, NBC called Manti Te’o and asked him to bring in some imaginary viewers.”
According to The New York Times‘s Bill Carter, whose multiple late-night books tend to give him a credible voice on such matters, Greenblatt sent an email to Leno complaining about the jokes. That reportedly led to a defensive email from Leno, who pointed out that The Tonight Show‘s opening monologues have always targeted its own network, and go back to the days of Johnny Carson.
The Peacock remains mum on both Leno’s jokes and the potential that his contract won’t be renewed next year. If Fallon does sweep into the Tonight Show next fall, reports right now indicate that Howard Stern could potentially take over as host of Late Night.
The Tonight Show airs weekdays at 11:34 p.m. on NBC.