Leno to step down from 'The Tonight Show' in 2009

Conan O'BrienMUMBAI: Stand-up comedian and television talk show host, Jay Leno announced on Monday that in 2009, he would be giving up the position of host of NBC's The Tonight Show. Conan O'Brien has been named as Leno's successor. Monday also happened to be The Tonight Show's 50th anniversary.

"In 2009, I'll be 59 years-old and will have had this dream job for 17 years. 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 Mavis I would take her out for dinner before I turned 60," Leno's official statement was quoted in a media report.

O'Brien has already signed a new contract through which, he will be the host of Late Night with Conan O'Brien for the next five years for NBC, until he takes over from Leno at The Tonight Show. O'Brien has been hosting Late Night for the last 10 years. Prior to that, he was the writer for Saturday Night Live, for which, he won an Emmy and was also the writer and producer of The Simpsons.

Leno, on the other hand, started hosting The Tonight Show in 1992, when he took over from the show's earlier host Johnny Carson.

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