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July 29, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

NBC wants Jay Leno to stick around after he hands over the Tonight show to Jimmy Fallon early next year. Speaking to members of the Television Critics Association on Saturday, the network’s entertainment chief Robert Greenblatt said, “Nothing would make us happier than to have him, a la Bob Hope, stay at the network.” Hope, who never hosted a weekly TV show, much less a nightly one, became NBC’s go-to man for variety specials over the decades. However, while once a TV staple, variety specials, which featured expensive productions and big-name talent, have virtually disappeared from the airwaves. The closest thing resembling them is the annual Oscar awards telecast — which Hope often hosted — but that show is no longer broadcast by NBC. “We have been having conversations, talking about various ideas” for Leno to stay on NBC, Greenblatt said. Might the network merely want to keep Leno around as insurance in case Fallon fails to deliver in the late-night hour? (Clearly everyone in the room had the 2009 fiasco of the Leno-to-Conan O’Brien transition in mind.) No, Greenblatt maintained, “We really believe in Jimmy Fallon.”