Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Jay Leno Disappointed in Late Night’s Lack of Diversity

Jay Leno speaks during the 2015 Summer Television Critics Association Press Tour at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on August 13, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California
Jay Leno speaks during the 2015 Summer Television Critics Association Press Tour at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on August 13, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California

*Talk show veteran Jay Leno is not happy with the way late night has stalled in its move toward diversity since his departure from “The Tonight Show.”

“The idea of a white guy in late night, this is revolutionary,” he deadpanned to journalists when asked about Stephen Colbert replacing David Letterman.

Appearing Thursday morning at the Television Critics Association’s Summer Press Tour in Beverly Hills, Leno was promoting his upcoming CNBC car-themed series “Jay Leno’s Garage,” but talk naturally turned toward the changing landscape of late night, with CBS’ Colbert joining ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel, Conan O’Brien at TBS and Jimmy Fallon having just locked down a six-year extension as Leno’s replacement at NBC.

“I would like to see a bit more diversity in late night,” Leno told critics. “It’s certainly ready for a female host and another African American host. I mean, Arsenio blew the place wide open 20 years ago, I don’t know why we haven’t had someone else [African American] come in, just for the difference in perspective.”

Below, Leno gives his take on Colbert’s late night chances:

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