Kevin Eubanks exiting as Leno bandleader

Wed Feb 17, 2010 2:45am EST
 
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By James Hibberd

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Changes are coming to Jay Leno's revamped "Tonight Show."

Leno's longtime bandleader Kevin Eubanks is leaving the program, and announcer John Melendez will no longer provide voiceover for the show.

Eubanks will still appear on the revamped "Tonight Show" when it debuts March 1, but the jazz guitarist is currently negotiating an exit date with NBC. Sources expect Eubanks will depart within months of the show's return.

The oft-amused Eubanks joined "Tonight" in 1992 and took over as bandleader from Branford Marsalis in 1995. Eubanks then followed Leno to his short-lived "Jay Leno Show."

As for Melendez, who rose to infamy as Howard Stern's sidekick Stuttering John, he is still expected to continue as a writer on the show.

 
<p>Musician Kevin Eubanks plays the U.S. national anthem before the start of Game 4 of the Orlando Magic versus the Philadelphia 76ers in their NBA Eastern Conference playoff series in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, April 26, 2009. REUTERS/Tim Shaffer</p>