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Leno to End His "Tonight Show" Run With a Surprise

Set your DVRs or VCRs to Channel 2 at 11:35 tonight when Jay Leno ends his 17-year run on "The Tonight Show." He has promised a surprise at show's end so it would be advisable to record Jimmy Fallon's show, too, just in case "Tonight" goes on a few extra minutes.

Western New Yorkers haven't exactly flocked to their sets in Leno's last week. Thursday night's semifinal featuring Billy Crystal had a 6.0 rating, which represents 6 percent of area households. The first four nights of the final week averaged a 5.7 rating, which is close to the 5.3 he averaged during the May sweeps.

A couple of borderline offensive jokes in Leno's opening monologue Thursday — including one about Michael Jackson — led to a few boos from the audience, which worked to the host's advantage.

"I got one day left," said Leno. "Ooh, I'm scared." 

Crystal's appearance was highlighted by an Oscar-like medley to Leno that focused on the host's chin, car collection and hair and ended with a 12-person chorus dancing to the theme from "The Jeffersons" and singing that focused on his move to 10 p.m. weekdays this fall.

Instead of "Moving on Up," Crystal sang "you're movin' on down, down to primetime, you're giving a new time slot a try."

It wasn't up to Crystal's Oscar openings when he was the host, but it was amusing. Tonight, Conan O'Brien, who takes over 'Tonight" on Monday is Jay's guest and James Taylor is the musical performer.

What did you think of Crystal's performance Thursday? And do you plan on watching the finale tonight?

Alan Pergament

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About Talkin' TV

Alan Pergament

Alan Pergament

Alan Pergament has continued to blog about television topics since retiring in 2010 as The News' television writer after 28 years on the beat. From local on-air personalities to ratings to the latest on network and cable programming, he keeps you informed.

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