Jay Leno’s ‘Tonight’ Staff Begins To Bail


The Tonight Show With Jay Leno staff isn’t necessarily waiting around for the show’s February finale. Bob Read and LiAnne Read, for instance, are moving over to Chelsea Lately. Bob Read is now supervising producer for Chelsea Handler’s late-night talker, producing all celebrity guests. LiAnne Read is associate producer in the talent department. They both started in 2001 — Bob Read was most recently a co-producer while LiAnne Reed was a talent coordinator

In early August, Tonight EP Debbie Vickers told staff that, per terms of Leno’s exit deal with NBC, cast and crew would be paid until his contract expires next September. The Jay Leno-hosted Tonight Show will air its last episode February 6. It was unclear how many crew and staff were at that meeting on the show’s Burbank lot. At one point it was reported Tonight had about 170 total staffers, including some contract workers. NBC declined comment on today’s news.

At NBC’s upfront presentation to advertisers in May, the network

officially announced that Leno would end his 22-year run on Tonight Show during the week leading up to the 2014 Winter Olympics — which start February 7. NBC also announced Jimmy Fallon would replace him on Monday, February 24, the night after the closing ceremony, followed by the debut of Late Night With Seth Meyers at 12:30 AM. Fallon’s Tonight Show will be broadcast from New York City; Lorne Michaels is exec producing, and Fallon’s Late Night writer Amy Ozols has been named producer.

Vickers’ announcement was made one week after NBC Entertainment chief Bob Greenblatt confirmed the network is having talks with Leno about “various ideas” for Leno after he ends his run. “Nothing would make us happier for Jay, a la Bob Hope, to have presence at the network, we’re really hoping to do that, post February,” Greenblatt told TV critics at the TCA Summer Press Tour.

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