NYU President John Sexton has been selected from a highly competitive field of candidates to replace Jay Leno on “The Tonight Show,” NBC announced today.
“The problem with Leno is that much of America sees him as a conceited and rapidly aging irrelevant celebrity who is costing far more money than he is worth,” an NBC spokesperson said. “We’re convinced that Sexton’s youth and reputation for financial restraint make him a perfect replacement.”
However, the move hasn’t been met with the same level of adulation by others at NBC. One NBC executive, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, took a far less rosy view of Sexton’s appointment.
“We shot a screen test with him, and it was a disaster,” the executive said. “It was like he had to hug everyone in the room before he could even begin his opening monologue. And then the monologue began, and he just started rambling on about baseball. He still wasn’t done 20 minutes later.”
Sexton’s plans to change the form of “The Tonight Show” have also been met with criticism. The host plans to turn the show into a global franchise at enormous cost to shareholders, starting with “The Tonight Show Abu Dhabi,” premiering this September. Early projections indicate the program will draw in literally a dozen viewers, making it one of NBC’s top-rated programs.
Sexton spoke in defense of the scheme at a press conference this morning.
“It’s important that we keep moving forward and make sure that we can adapt to a rapidly changing world,” he said.
Sexton then disappeared before anyone could ask him what his statement meant.
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, April 1 print edition. Malcom Reynolds is a senior editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.