Leno: Ready For Primetime

Jay Leno headshot, as "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" host, performs, 9-30-96 AP

Jay Leno said he's looking forward to being a star-maker for young comedians on his new prime-time show.

"The Jay Leno Show," airing at 10 p.m. EDT weekdays starting Sept. 14, will include taped pieces from comics including Liz Feldman, Mikey Day and Rachael Harris, Leno told reporters Wednesday.

"I hope people become famous and get offered shows," Leno said. If he someday hears, "'Jay, we're replacing you with the guy you discovered,'" that would be great, Leno said.

But it's not just men who will be spotlighted _ or, as Leno put it, "a bunch of white guys doing standup."

"I think we have a diverse group. It looks like America," he said, with women, African-Americans including D.L. Hughley, and other minorities.

Among the segments in production: Feldman teaching older people how to use Twitter, and Hughley suggesting bake sales and other fundraisers for California's fiscal woes.

It's a new approach to showcasing comedians who have been a staple on talk shows, Leno said. He recalled seeing their standup routines on "Tonight" as a youngster and then performing on the show when he was making his own name.

But within the last decade or so, he said, standup started to lose its "snap" on talk shows.

He'll still do a monologue to open the hour and other comedians will perform as well as he seeks to "mix it up" on his show, details of which were still being hashed out.

There will be a "10 at 10" feature, with "ridiculous, celebrity-based questions" for stars and newsmakers, Leno said.

His new studio is on the same lot where Leno hosted "Tonight" for 17 years, until Conan O'Brien took over in June.

"The Jay Leno Show" will debut with Jerry Seinfeld and a musical performance by Jay-Z, Rihanna and Kanye West.

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