Now if we could only get Leno to quit!

Tonight Show announcer/sketch comic Edd Hall signs off tonight after a 12-year run with Jay Leno – hoping there’s an earlier timeslot in his future.
“I’ve got a couple of things I’m working on but nothing signed, nothing solid,” said Hall, who spent 10 years with David Letterman before joining the “Tonight Show” in May 1992.
“Sitcoms are the direction I’m going in . . . My acting coach said, ‘Where you need to go is as a TV dad,’ ” says Hall, the father of three young children. “And that’s where I’m looking, primarily.”
Hall said he’s been thinking of leaving the show for a while now.
“At the beginning of the show, I was hired as a principal performer to do sketches as well as announcing, and in the beginning, for the first six or seven years, I was on three to four times a week in sketches,” Hall said.
“In the last few years they’ve sort of phased out the sketches, using correspondents around the country, and I kind of felt like, ‘OK, now I am just the announcer.’
“It’s a good job and is high profile, but I had to ask myself if I wanted to stay here, or if now was the chance to get out and test my chops,” he said. “It’s a decision that’s been a few years in the making.”
NBC’s announcement of Hall’s departure, coupled with the hiring of Howard Stern sidekick “Stuttering John” Melendez as his replacement, fueled rumors that Hall had been fired.
“A lot of the press was thinking I got fired, but I’m mainly leaving because I want to go off and pursue acting,” he said. “NBC and the show have been so supportive. My contract isn’t really up until mid-May, and I asked to get out of it early because it’s pilot season.
“They were very obliging, even though, at that point, they didn’t have anyone to replace me.”
Hall said he was initially surprised that NBC selected Melendez as his successor.
“When they first told me there was a little bit like, ‘Hello?’ But after it was announced, I called John and congratulated him and we spoke for about 20 minutes,” he said.
“I’m going to be interested in how they work him into the show – he’s a sweet guy and I’m sure he’s going to do great.”
Hall will receive a nice sendoff on tonight’s show (11:35 p.m./Ch. 4), including a retrospective of his memorable bits.
“It’s exciting and terrifying at the same time,” he said. “I’ve been very lucky in show business. I was at NBC for 25 years . . . There are very few show-biz jobs that last that long.”