Photo Credit: NBC
Avert your eyes, Team Conan. As Jay Leno prepares his controversial return to his Tonight Show post, NBC has announced which celebs will be stopping by during his first two weeks back in his old role as host.
Leno, 59, is returning to his 11:35 p.m. time slot after his weeknights-at-10 p.m. experiment The Jay Leno Show failed miserably (and was cancelled in January). The first guests to welcome him back on the Mar. 1 episode will include rapper/actor Jamie Foxx, Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn and country music star Brad Paisley.
Other guests during the first week back will include former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, snowboarding champ Shaun White, Morgan Freeman, Matthew McConaughey, Olympic speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno, and a favorite target of Leno jokes -- the cast of the hit MTV reality series Jersey Shore.
Then, during the week of Mar. 8, Leno will sit down with American Idol's Simon Cowell, New Moon's Kristen Stewart and her Runaways costar Dakota Fanning, Kim Kardashian, and Oscar nominee Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds), among others.
Leno's return follows January's very public late-night war, when Conan O' Brien reluctantly stepped down from his short-lived Tonight Show hosting duties after NBC wanted to bump him to 12:05 a.m. (in a plan that would give Jay Leno his old 11:35 p.m. time slot back for a new half-hour comedy series).
But Leno's problems aren't just with O'Brien, 46, (the two have reportedly not spoken since the controversial feud) as it's reported that his longtime band leader and de facto sidekick, Kevin Eubanks, is angling to make an exit from The Tonight Show.
Eubanks, 52, who has been with the show since 1992, apparently "wanted a change" and "wanted to pursue other opportunities," according to a recent Extra report. However, other sources say he will be on hand for the March 1 broadcast.
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