By James Hibberd
Updated March 21, 2013 at 12:00 PM EDT

Jay Leno is shifting his target in his latest joke about the the dramatic recent Tonight Show transition headlines. Instead of poking fun at NBC’s ratings like the late-night host has done earlier this week, on Thursday night he took a shot at his own perilous position at the network.

“Are you all excited about March Madness?” he asked the Tonight audience at the taping earlier today. “Are you all into March Madness? People are talking about who’s in, who’s out, who’s gonna be eliminated. And that’s just here at NBC. I’ve never been in the paper this much. It’s fantastic.”

Leno and NBC have been besieged by reports that the network plans to replace the top-rated veteran host with Late Night host Jimmy Fallon by the end of next year.