NEW YORK – Jay Leno is coming back to the “Tonight” show – at least for one night.
The show’s former host will be a guest on Jimmy Fallon’s version of “Tonight” on Friday. It will be the first time he’s been back at the NBC institution since signing off after nearly 22 years as host last February.
Fallon moved the show from California to New York and quickly established himself as the new king of late-night TV.
Leno briefly appeared in one of Fallon’s TV parodies, “House of Cue Cards,” but has not returned as a guest.
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There was some talk after Leno left that he might make a guest appearance on David Letterman’s competing CBS show. That hasn’t happened yet, but the “Late Show” said Leno has a “standing offer” to appear before Letterman retires next year.
For his first time back in late-night, Leno remained loyal to NBC. Next year he’s starting a new CNBC series talking about cars, “Jay Leno’s Garage.”
One topic of conversation for his “Tonight” appearance likely will be his recent acceptance of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. He was given the award in Washington last month in a ceremony that will be televised on PBS on Nov. 23.
Leno reigned as “Tonight” host from 1992 to 2014, with a brief break in 2009-10 when Conan O'Brien took over and Leno was given an ill-fated prime-time show. His exit this year was more NBC’s timetable than Leno’s, and it has worked out well for the network.
Lucy Liu and Kevin Delaney also will be guests on Fallon’s show on Friday.