No one safe from chat show host's sharp tongue
Published 28/09/2010 | 05:00
JAY Leno was chosen to replace Johnny Carson, who was the longest-serving TV host in the world after Gay Byrne.
After taking over the 'Tonight Show' on NBC in 1992, he eventually surpassed his main rival, David Letterman, in the ratings.
The 60-year-old has long been a thorn in the side of US politicians. His targets have included former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and US President Barack Obama.
However, Mr Obama got the better of him at a press dinner earlier this year when he mocked Mr Leno's disastrous move last year to a new primetime slot on NBC.
"The only person whose ratings fell more than mine last year is here tonight," he said, with Mr Leno sitting a few feet away.
Mr Leno had been replaced by Conan O'Brien as host of the 'Tonight Show' last year and given a new show of his own instead. But the move backfired, with ratings dropping for both O'Brien and Leno. NBC resolved the situation by returning Leno to his old job and paying off O'Brien with an estimated $33m package.
Leno has a multimillion- dollar salary, which helps him to fund his enormous car collection.