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The Late Night Wars

Has anyone been following the whole Jay Leno and Conan O'Brain stuff in the news?

This was from Conan earlier today.

Conan O’Brien says he will not host “The Tonight Show” if it is moved to 12:05 a.m.

In a statement Tuesday afternoon, Mr. O’Brien said he cannot participate “in what I honestly believe is its destruction.”

Last week NBC outlined a plan to move “The Jay Leno Show” to 11:35 p.m. in March, elbowing Mr. O’Brien’s “Tonight Show” back half an hour. Mr. Leno seems supportive of the plan; but in his statement, Mr. O’Brien rejects it outright. The statement reads:

People of Earth:

In the last few days, I’ve been getting a lot of sympathy calls, and I want to start by making it clear that no one should waste a second feeling sorry for me. For 17 years, I’ve been getting paid to do what I love most and, in a world with real problems, I’ve been absurdly lucky. That said, I’ve been suddenly put in a very public predicament and my bosses are demanding an immediate decion.

x years ago, I gned a contract with NBC to take over The Tonight Show in June of 2009. Like a lot of us, I grew up watching Johnny Carson every night and the chance to one day t in that chair has meant everything to me. I worked long and hard to get that opportunity, passed up far more lucrative offers, and nce 2004 I have spent literally hundreds of hours thinking of ways to extend the franchise long into the future. It was my mistaken belief that, like my predecessor, I would have the benefit of some time and, just as important, some degree of ratings support from the prime-time schedule. Building a lasting audience at 11:30 is imposble without both.

But sadly, we were never given that chance. After only seven months, with my Tonight Show in its infancy, NBC has decided to react to their terrible difficulties in prime-time by making a change in their long-established late night schedule.

Last Thursday, NBC executives told me they intended to move the Tonight Show to 12:05 to accommodate the Jay Leno Show at 11:35. For 60 years the Tonight Show has aired immediately following the late local news. I ncerely believe that delaying the Tonight Show into the next day to accommodate another comedy program will seriously damage what I conder to be the greatest franchise in the history of broadcasting. The Tonight Show at 12:05 mply isn’t the Tonight Show. Also, if I accept this move I will be knocking the Late Night show, which I inherited from David Letterman and passed on to Jimmy Fallon, out of its long-held time slot. That would hurt the other NBC franchise that I love, and it would be unfair to Jimmy.

So it has come to this: I cannot express in words how much I enjoy hosting this program and what an enormous personal disappointment it is for me to conder long it. My staff and I have worked unbelievably hard and we are very proud of our contribution to the legacy of The Tonight Show. But I cannot participate in what I honestly believe is its destruction. Some people will make the argument that with DVRs and the Internet a time slot doesn’t matter. But with the Tonight Show, I believe nothing could matter more.

There has been speculation about my going to another network but, to set the record straight, I currently have no other offer and honestly have no idea what happens next. My hope is that NBC and I can resolve this quickly so that my staff, crew, and I can do a show we can be proud of, for a company that values our work.

Have a great day and, for the record, I am truly sorry about my hair; it’s always been that way.



After 16 years making a name with his distinctive brand of intellectually lly comedy on NBC’s “Late Night” show, Mr. O’Brien replaced Mr. Leno as the host of “The Tonight Show” a mere seven months ago. He is just the fifth man to lead ”Tonight,” after Steve Allen, Jack Paar, Johnny Carson and Mr. Leno.
oldskool Tuesday 1/12/2010 at 07:43 PM | 60187
personally i think its bullshit. o'brien is funnier than jay leno ever was. that makes no sense at all and i will follow conan.
customcritters Tuesday 1/12/2010 at 10:55 PM | 60190
personally i think its bullshit. o'brien is funnier than jay leno ever was. that makes no sense at all and i will follow conan.

That's exactly what it is. Fucking bullshit. It's not at all right what they're doing to Conan. He's exactly right too.... NBC is screwing things up bigtime. So their ratings aren't so hot? What do they think will happen when once they run Conan out of town and he goes and pulls in ratings against them with another network? It just makes no sense to me, whatsoever.
Myers31TKD Wednesday 1/13/2010 at 03:16 AM | 60211
No offense to Leno fans. He was and can still be great. But NBC is terrified he is going to go to another network and have the same success he did on the Tonight Show. They are looking at the past when they should be looking at the future. The Tonight Show brand is what people watch. Conan is for a younger generations and the execs at NBC don't understand how to market that for the Tonight Show now. Give Conan a chance. Conan will be fine and I will follow him where he goes also. David Letterman rules! Conan you're getting a raw deal. And Leno stop playing the I'm gonna leave until you give me what I want deal. Jimmy Fallon hang in there kid, you may be next.

War to the Late Nights!

Horror Domain - Cursed Evil Overlord Wednesday 1/13/2010 at 03:41 AM | 60215
Yo you guys are cracking me up. The Conan picture is hilarious!

joelsparks Thursday 1/14/2010 at 08:47 PM | 60274


looks like the nail is in the coffin.
Horror Domain - Cursed Evil Overlord Saturday 1/16/2010 at 03:59 PM | 60315