Comedian Jay Leno has announced plans to step down from hosting his popular chat show in 2009.

Leno, who took over the reigns of THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO from American TV personality Johnny Carson in 1992, will be succeeded by CONAN O'BRIEN, whose LATE NIGHT WITH CONAN O'BRIEN currently airs directly after Leno's.

Leno will make the announcement on today's (27SEP04) edition of the Tonight Show, a special celebration of the talk show's 50th anniversary.

He says, "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 (my wife) MAVIS I would take her out for dinner before I turned 60."

O'Brien was once a writer on hit cartoon series The Simpsons.

28/09/2004 00:15