Why Jay Leno Did Not Have to Leave The Tonight Show

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Jay Leno did not have to leave The Tonight Show. He simply decided he wanted to, that it was time to go. But he did not have to go.

This is how he could have kept The Tonight Show.

Scene. A meeting in the office of Robert Greenblatt, Chairman, NBC Entertainment.

Leno: “I want to keep The Tonight Show.”

Greenblatt: “I’m sorry, Jay, but that just isn’t possible.”

Leno: “Yes, it is.”

Greenblatt: No, Jay, it isn’t.”

Leno: “I’ll do it for free.”

Greenblatt: Silence.

Leno: “Have we got a deal?”

Greenblatt: “I’m sorry. What was that you just said?”

Leno: “Have we got a deal?”

Greenblatt: No. Before that.”

Leno: “I’ll do it for free.”

Greenblatt: “You mean for free.”

Leno: “That’s right.”

Greenblatt: “But I promised Fallon he could have it.”

Leno: “Are you planning to pay him?”

Greenblatt: “Of course we’re planning to pay him.”

Leno: “Why?”

Greenblatt: “Because he won’t do it for free.”

Leno: “I will.”

Greenblatt: “But nobody works for free.”

Leno: “Mother Teresa did.”

Greenblatt: “But that’s because she had lousy Nielsen ratings.”

Leno: “Mine are good.”

Greenblatt: “But we pay you $15 million a year.”

Leno: “You won’t have to any more.”

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