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CNN plans Jay Leno tribute Friday

Jay Leno arrives at the 2013 Vanity Fair

Jay Leno arrives at the 2013 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Graydon Carter at Sunset Tower in West Hollywood, Calif., on Feb. 24, 2013. Credit: Getty Images/Pascal Le Segretain

Jay Leno is leaving "The Tonight Show" next week, but on Friday, CNN will air this: 

After an incredible run on top, Jay Leno is wrapping up his reign on The Tonight Show. Jay Leno: Mr. Comedy airing Friday, January 31st at 10pm ET on CNN, looks back at how Leno earned his stripes on the comedy club circuit in the 70’s, made his first splash on TV in the 80’s and then, in the 90’s, took on the challenge of succeeding the legendary Johnny Carson. Nischelle Turner will serve as host.

Needless to say, this is intriguing, and what's especially intriguing is what's written between the lines as opposed to the lines themselves: In other words, is CNN throwing out a big welcome mat to the comic it covets? As you are aware (as per rumours), CNN chief Jeff Zucker has approached Leno about joining the network to anchor a 10 p.m. comedy and interview show. Leno has said he will entertain no offers until his 22-year run at "Tonight" is over. That means one week from Thursday.

(The phrase "incredible run on top" indicates that CNN's special is not designed to be embarrassing or offer much of a discussion about the 10 p.m. show that Zucker himself ordered when at NBC -- a show, by the way, that was not only not a success but a major failure. Welcome mat, indeed.

 For a contrary point of view...CNN did air a Justin Bieber doc last week at the same time and there is no evidence, at least so far, that it's trying to hire him to do a talk show.,,,) 

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