Kevin Eubanks Officially Breaks Up with Jay Leno
Mark April 12, 2010 down as one of the most bizarre days for late night announcements in history. First, Conan O'Brien psyched out industry insiders by inking a five-year deal with TBS instead of Fox. And now, Kevin Eubanks has officially announced that he is departing The Tonight Show after 18 glorious years with Jay Leno. To make things weirder, Jay Leno responded to the news by saying that he would miss their date nights.
After Leno wrapped up his monologue and a Monday installment of "Headlines," the host welcomed a surprise guest, Kevin Eubanks, onstage. Sitting in an easy chair opposite the host, Eubanks uncomfortably confirmed that he would indeed depart the late night show: "I'm just kinda making it official and all of that."
Eubanks, 52, has been with the Late Show since 1992 and took over as musical director in 1995. The sidekick/guitarist continued, "After 18 years of playing America into commercials, I'm gonna go somewhere where I can finish a song."
Leno replied that Eubanks -- and the date nights that the pair scheduled to see bad movies -- would be missed.
News of Eubanks' plans to leave Leno's side leaked two months ago, just after NBC yanked the Jay Leno Show off the air. Last week, Movieline reported exclusively that Conan's bandleader Max Weinberg is angling for the gig.