Kevin Eubanks, Jay Leno

NBC Photo: Paul Drinkwater

Maybe Kevin Eubanks got used to being a prime-time player.

The longtime Tonight Show bandleader, who jumped with Jay Leno to 10 p.m. and will return to late night with him on March 1, may not be giggling at Leno's punchlines much longer, according to NBC.

The network revealed that the 52-year-old jazz specialist has talked about leaving, or at least taking a break from, The Tonight Show to possibly tour and record on his own.

Eubanks joined Tonight with Leno in 1992, composing the music that plays over the closing credits, and was appointed musical director in 1995 when Branford Marsalis left.

As tends to be the case, when NBC said that Eubanks might be going, they prompted immediate speculation about who might be taking his place.

A rep for Darius Rucker, the Hootie and the Blowfish frontman turned CMA Award-winning country singer, tells E! News that there's no truth to a rumor that he's in line to replace Eubanks.

(Originally published Feb. 16, 2010, at 3:17 p.m. PT)


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