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After 22 years, Leno bids farewell to ‘Tonight’

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AP Photo/Paul Drinkwater

BURBANK, Calif. (AP) — Jay Leno said goodbye to “The Tonight Show” once before, but that turned out to be just a rehearsal. On Thursday, Leno is stepping down for the second and presumably last time, making way for successor Jimmy Fallon in New York. Leno gave up NBC’s “Tonight” in 2009 to short-lived host Conan O’Brien, then reclaimed it in 2010.

Hosting the late-night show has been a wonderful job, Leno said last week, but this is the right time to leave.

The 63-year-old Leno said he plans to continue playing comedy clubs, indulging his passion for cars and doing such TV work as comes his way. He doesn’t plan to host another-late show, he said.

Fallon starts his “Tonight Show” on Feb. 17, with NBC hoping he rides the promotional wave of its Winter Olympics coverage the next two weeks.

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