EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

April 4, 2013

Andover's Jay Leno leaves 'Tonight Show,' take 2

Andover High junior Shea Cirbee was able to succinctly sum up the news about Andover native Jay Leno leaving “The Tonight Show” yesterday.

“I think it’s a bummer,” said the 17-year-old while sipping a latte at Starbucks in downtown Andover.

NBC confirmed yesterday that it was replacing Leno, again, at the head of “The Tonight Show” — this time in favor of Jimmy Fallon, the comic who follows Leno every night on television. The change will occur in spring 2014 during the network’s coverage of the Winter Olympics.

The announcement ended weeks of gossip about the change — remarkably similar to NBC’s 2009 plan to replace Leno with Conan O’Brien. That change lasted about eight months, resulting in Leno taking the show back over in 2010 when ratings fell.

Last night locals had mixed reactions to the news, many surprised by it.

Andover native John Jannetti said he was saddened, but thought Jimmy Fallon would be a good replacement.

”I do, but I really enjoyed Jay,” said the 56-year-old.

”I think it’s time. He’s had a good run,” said Mark Quinn, an Andover resident in his mid-60s.

Quinn had an opinion on what Leno should do after television.

”He can be on the Board of Trustees of Emerson College and do some part-time teaching,” he said (Leno received a bachelor’s degree in speech therapy from Emerson College in 1973).

Cirbee was, understandably, bummed by the news — though truth be told she is more of a “Conan” fan. Her friend, fellow Andover High junior Mimi Olney expressed disappointment at her friend’s admiration for O’Brien over Leno.

”Jay’s good,” asserted the 17-year-old, adding that she has some ideas what he can do with his free time.

”I think he should come back to Andover and so some charitable stand-up comedy. I hope to see him around town,” Olney said,.

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