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Jay Leno Mocking NBC, Offends Network Executives, 'NBC Called Manti Te'o Asked Him To Bring In Some Imaginary Viewers'

By Staff Writer | March 17, 2013 10:52 PM EDT

Jay Leno Mocking NBC, Offends Network Executives
(Photo : NBC)

Jay Leno might have crossed the line when he was mocking NBC's recent slide in the ratings.

Leno mocking the network's poor ratings, might not been such a smart idea, seeing that there are rumors that the network wants him to retire after this season of "The Tonight Show."

It was during the show segment on February 28 which the comedian took various stabs as he said, "We are behind the Spanish-language network Univision -- or, as we call it here in Los Angeles, Cinco de Ratings.

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He adds, "It's so bad, 'The Biggest Loser' isn't just a TV show anymore; it's our new motto. It's so bad, NBC called Manti Te'o and asked him to bring in some imaginary viewers. The most common thing people are giving up for Lent? Watching NBC."

There were reports that Leno's jokes were not appreciated by NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenbaltt.

The pair reportedly exchanged few "tense emails" over the incident. It's unclear what was said during the exchanges however it stirred rumors that Leno will soon be retiring and leaving "The Tonight Show," with Jimmy Fallon to take over him in the fall.

"Kimmel has done extremely well. Jay wins overall, but, on any given night, it's neck-and-neck [among those ages] 18-49. I understand where they might have fear and also feel that they own the solution [in Fallon]," a network veteran told the Hollywood Reporter.

However this is all speculation at the moment and might be a risky move for NBC to replace of their highest-rated late-night shows during such a difficult struggle for viewers.


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