Jay Leno Eyes Return to TV With CNBC Car Show

Jay Leno is making another bid for primetime success, this time with a series that is close to being approved at CNBC, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The latenight veteran is expected to host a program focused on his love of cars, this person said. Leno’s publicist, Richard Guttman, and CNBC declined to comment.

Leno, who launched a five-nights-a-week talk show on NBC’s primetime in 2009 at the behest of then NBCU chief executive Jeff Zucker – a disastrous effort – will this time burnish his hobby. He has long been known to enjoy collecting cars. Details of a start date or number of episodes order were not available, and the deal is not finalized, but looks promising, this person said.

CNBC, which is best known for its daily coverage of business and the markets, has been making more strides in primetime as of late. The network has found ratings growth by airing reruns of ABC’s “Shark Tank” as well as reality series like “The Profit” and “Restaurant Startup.” CNBC has struggled in the time period in the past, testing everything from talk shows hosted by Dennis Miller and John McEnroe, to documentaries made by its business-news staffers.

NBCUniversal has expressed interest in keeping Leno under its entertainment umbrella – and with good reason. The latenight audience is splintered among two handfuls of programs and a Leno effort to launch a new show in the daypart would only serve to fragment it further. Leno tie-ups with CNN and A + E Networks have been the subject of speculation in the press, though none have come to pass.

Leno previously took part in a CNBC special called “Jay’s Garage” over Labor Day weekend.

Leno’s efforts to launch a CNBC program were reported previously by The Hollywood Reporter.

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