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News, Sept. 28: Conan To Replace Leno in 2009, Chaka Khan's son arrested for murder, Barenaked Ladies Get Variety Show, More...

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Sep 28, 2004 | 10:47am EDT

Conan to replace Leno in 2009

During a special program Monday to mark the 50th anniversary of NBC's The Tonight Show, Jay Leno announced he will retire as the show's host in 2009 and pass the torch to fellow comedian Conan O'Brien. Late Night With Conan O'Brien currently airs directly after The Tonight Show, but the comic's contract with the network was due to expire this year. According to The Associated Press, NBC made the announcement five years in advance to hold on to the 41-year-old O'Brien, who was considered likely to jump to another network without a promise of advancement. Leno said NBC executives approached him about O'Brien shortly after he signed his latest contract extension. He said he endorsed the move and set his own 2009 exit date. Leno, 54, took over the show in 1992 from Johnny Carson, who hosted the show for 30 years. At the time, he beat out David Letterman, who then moved his late night chat show to rival CBS. "A lot of good friendships were permanently damaged," Leno said as he recalled the hostility during Monday's show. "Quite frankly, I don't want to see anybody go through that again." Leno, who was accused of overlooking Carson's 30-year legacy when he took over host duties 12 years ago, also offered a warm tribute to his predecessor by showing a lengthy clip package of Carson's funniest moments. "Johnny set the standard for how this job should be done," Leno said. "He was such a gentleman. He always had impeccable timing. He was the comedian's comedian. Those of us who do this for a living, we all owe him a tremendous debt."

Chaka Khan's son arrested

Damien Patrick Holland, the 25-year-old son of R&B singer Chaka Khan, has been arrested for investigation of murder stemming from the Friday night shooting of an 18-year-old man in Los Angeles, the AP reports. According to the police report, Holland and the victim were fighting and both struggled to control a gun, which fired and struck the teen, who died later at a nearby hospital. Holland was booked for investigation of first-degree murder and remained in custody on $1 million bail. The victim's identity was being withheld until his relatives could be notified.

Barenaked Ladies get variety show

Fox Broadcasting Co. has ordered a pilot for a comedy/variety show starring the popular Canadian band Barenaked Ladies, best known for their hit songs "One Week" and "Pinch Me." According to the Hollywood Reporter, the project, tentatively titled The Barenaked Ladies Variety Show, is set to expand upon the tongue-in-cheek stage banter as well as improv bits with the audience that have become a staple of Barenaked Ladies' concerts. The show will highlight band members Steven Page, Kevin Hearn, Tyler Stewart, Jim Creeggan and Ed Robertson in comedy skits as exaggerated versions of themselves and will include musical performances by the group and other musical guests.

Are Daily Show viewers just "stoned slackers"?

Whose audience is more intelligent, Fox News Channel's The O'Reilly Factor or Comedy Central's The Daily Show? The question begged to be answered after Daily Show host Jon Stewart's appeared on Bill O'Reilly's Factor. "You know what's really frightening?" O'Reilly told Stewart. "You actually have an influence on this presidential election ... you've got stoned slackers watching your dopey show every night and they can vote." Comedy Central said they didn't want this misconception to persist so they turned to Nielsen Media Research, whose research indicates viewers of Stewart's show are more likely to have completed four years of college than people who watch The O'Reilly Factor. Comedy Central, however, added it had no statistics on how many people watch The Daily Show stoned.

Darrell Hammond wins Best Regis award

Comedian Darrell Hammond's impersonation of Live With Regis and Kelly host Regis Philbin was awarded Best Regis in the second annual Rellys. The mock awards, which include self-affirming categories such as Funniest Guest, were created to offset its lack of success in the Daytime Emmys, the AP reports. Hammond was up against Best Regis nominees Dana Carvey, Tom Hanks and Kevin Pollack. Winners, decided by viewer votes, receive the coveted Golden Stool, a trophy-size version of the seating that accommodates Live guests and co-hosts Philbin and Kelly Rippa. Philbin, meanwhile, took home a Golden Stool for Best Dressed for outfitting himself as Kid Rock.

Gilligan's Island resumes filming

Whew! Filming continued on The Real Gilligan's Island after the Gulf of Mexico island where the TBS reality show is being shot was evacuated for Hurricane Ivan last week. TBS spokeswoman Michelle Sisco told the AP this week the cast and crew had been evacuated Sept. 16 as a precaution and no one was injured by the hurricane. The exact location of the reality show, however, hasn't been revealed. The unscripted skein features seven castaways--a real-life skipper, a first mate, a millionaire couple, a movie star, a professor and an innocent farm girl--and pits them against the elements to see if they can devise a way to get off the island. The Real Gilligan's Island is set to premiere as scheduled Nov. 30.

Kit Bowen contributed to this report.

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