Morning Media Newsfeed: Leno Signs Off | Carville Joins Fox | AOL CEO Under Fire

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Emotional Jay Leno Bids Star-Studded Farewell to Tonight Show (Reuters)
Comedian Jay Leno said an emotional goodbye to The Tonight Show on Thursday with a star-studded farewell led by actor Billy Crystal, after hosting the NBC late-night program for more than 20 years and handing the reins over to Jimmy Fallon. Leno, 63, who took over one of U.S. broadcast television’s marquee programs in 1992 from Johnny Carson, came out to a standing ovation from the audience of friends and family, shaking hands with many as he did in each show. Variety Characteristically, Leno wasn’t particularly maudlin or sentimental at first, at least compared to Carson’s “very heartfelt goodnight” that preceded Leno’s briefly interrupted stint as Carson’s successor. THR / The Live Feed Celebrity friends — or, in some cases, just celebrities — that appeared onstage included Jack Black, Kim Kardashian, Chris Paul, Sheryl Crow, Jim Parsons, Carol Burnett and Oprah Winfrey. The seven joined Billy Crystal in a snarky musical salute to Leno, and Winfrey got one of the night’s biggest laughs by singing a line of Crystal’s slightly tweaked “So Long, Farewell” from The Sound of Music. TheWrap The episode felt like an affectionate roast. Leno, once accused of jealously refusing to yield the show, was plenty generous with airtime. He left it to others to get most of the laughs, though he got plenty of his own too: At one point he said the real shame was that in all his time on the show, O.J. Simpson never found the real killers. The Washington Post / Television It wasn’t until Leno’s tearful speech at the end that this final show felt worthy of shelf space in television’s historical vault. “Boy this is the hard part,” Leno said, quickly verklempt. He thanked his audience and talked about how lucky he felt to have interviewed “presidents, astronauts, movie stars…” But he was most appreciative of his hard-working, union-labor staff: “The first year of this show I lost my mom; the second year I lost my dad. Then my brother died and after that I was pretty much out of family. The folks here became my family,” Leno said. “When people say to me, ‘Hey, why don’t you go to ABC, why don’t you go to Fox?’ — [but] I didn’t know anybody over there. These are the only people I know.”

James Carville Joins Fox News as Contributor (TVNewser)
The Ragin’ Cajun is bringing his heat to Fox News Channel. James Carville is joining the network as a political analyst. Carville will appear across various FNC programs offering political commentary on the news of the day. Bill Shine, EVP of Programming for the network, says Carville’s “successful and storied career in politics over several decades is an enormous asset to Fox News.” THR / The Live Feed Carville, famous for his work on the 1992 presidential campaign for Bill Clinton (depicted in Oscar-nominated doc The War Room), is also known for his on-air sparring with his wife, Republican political consultant Mary Matalin. HuffPost Carville’s split from CNN came alongside exits by Matalin, Erick Erickson and Bill Bennett — but Carville and Matalin were considered CNN’s most prominent pundits. Carville’s departure was part of a much larger shakeup headed by chief Jeff Zucker’s new strategy. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media Carville’s move also comes just a few months after liberal commentator Sally Kohn left Fox News in October and joined CNN.

AOL CEO Tim Armstrong: ‘Distressed Babies’ Figured in 401(k) Roll-Back (Capital New York)
Appearing on CNBC Thursday morning, AOL chief executive Tim Armstrong said: “We have to look at our benefits programs very seriously.” He was explaining why his company recently decided to restructure its 401(k) program in a way that essentially pulls back the company’s employer-matching contributions. “As a CEO and as a management team,” said Armstrong, “we had to decide, do we pass the $7.1 million of Obamacare costs to our employees? Or do we try to eat as much of that as possible and cut other benefits?” HuffPost The idea that costly pregnancies would increase AOL’s future employee benefit costs doesn’t make sense, said Gary Claxton, the co-director of the Program for the Study of Health Reform and Private Insurance at the Kaiser Family Foundation. Those expenses shouldn’t have any effect on costs. Re/code Those unhappy with the way the changes were communicated expressed it clearly. Said one email I got sent among some Huffington Post employees: “His comments during the earnings call, specifically blaming the policy change in part on the costs associated with the birth of two ‘distressed’ babies by AOL employees, were completely outrageous. Almost unbelievable.”