American bandleader Kevin Eubanks to leave 'Tonight Show'

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Kevin Eubanks, the veteran bandleader to American late-night television personality Jay Leno, confirmed reports on Wednesday that he will, at least temporarily, leave the The Tonight Show. File:Elizabeth and John Edwards by The Tonight Show.jpg

Jay Leno hosting The Tonight Show with guests John and Elizabeth Edwards. (2007)
Image: John Edwards 2008.
(Image missing from Commons: image; log)

According to an NBC spokesperson, "Kevin [Eubanks] has expressed interest in pursuing personal touring and recording opportunities."

Eubanks has been the bandleader for the show since 1995. He furthermore followed Leno in his move to the primetime slot last year, when Leno hosted a short-lived talk show. This was until the new host Conan O'Brien left Tonight after only seven months following a contractual dispute.

The Tonight Show is slated to resume this March with Leno reinstated as host. For now, Eubanks is expected stay with Leno for the show's return and for an indefinite period of time following. It is yet to be made clear if Eubanks is willing to permanently abdicate his position and whether his entire The Tonight Show Band will go with him once he leaves.