It has been officially announced by NBC that Jay Leno will be removed from his primetime 10pm time slot due to his poor ratings. Unfortunately this means that Conan O’Brien(my choice in late night since 1993) is left with a difficult choice. He can move to 12:05 or move to a different network. This move would also push Jimmy Fallon’s start time back to 1:05am which is absurd(I really like his show btw). It seems NBC is *politely* trying to push Conan out so they can go back to their clean lineup with Leno on the Tonight Show.
*Update* – 12:52p.m. 01/11/10
According to the New York Post Conan is understandably peeved at NBC and is considering an offer from FOX to move his show to their network.
“This level of sh- – -iness was not expected,” one source said.
“He’s done a great job for NBC. He moved his entire staff, he moved his family to LA. And five months later, they repay him like this?”
As it stands now, the source said, “Conan would be happier somewhere else.”
Jerry Seinfeld even weighed in with his (quite PC)thoughts:
“What did the network do to Conan? I don’t think anyone’s preventing people from watching Conan,” he said during an appearance to hype his new NBC show, “The Marriage Ref.”
Let’s see NBC move Jerry’s show to midnight with the unfunny Leno as a lead-in and see what he thinks then. Who’s going to turn it back from Letterman at 12 to check out what’s on NBC? I personally think FOX could be a good fit(except they have the worst HD in television) as he would most likely have more freedom. What do yall think? Please leave your thoughts in the comment’s section, that’s what it’s there for! Before we get into what Conan *should* do, let’s take a look back at what got NBC in this mess. Check it out after the FRUMP!
*Update* – 11:00p.m. 01/12/10
Conan O’Brien has released a full statement. This is probably the best written statement I have ever read. It’s so ridiculously good i can’t get past it. If Leno doesn’t pack it up and retire after this, then neither he nor NBC have any soul whatsoever. Be a man Jay, WALK AWAY!!!
(image via Mike)
In 2004, Jay Leno announced that he would step down in 5 years and
be succeeded by O’Brien. This was a contract move by NBC to gaurantee
that Conan didn’t bolt for another network and at the time Leno seemed
content with the decision. “When I signed my new contract, I felt
that the timing was right to plan for my successor, and there is no one
more qualified than Conan,” Leno said. NBC didn’t want a repeat of
the situation in 1992 where they screwed the pooch and let David
Letterman go to CBS. Fast forward to 2008 when the reality of Leno
stepping down came closer and Leno decided he wasn’t ready to be done.
In order to keep Leno from jumping to another network they offered him
the 10pm primetime spot.
As you’ve noticed that hasn’t gone well and while NBC tries to keep
everyone happy, they may very well lose their most talented late night
personality in order to keep the (in my opinion) unfunny Leno. If I
were Conan, I would bolt for FOX or ABC and never look back. Conan’s
loyal audience will follow him and NBC will once again regret their
late night decisions(see 1992). A perfect world would have seen Conan
succeeding Letterman on CBS but Dave isn’t ready to call it quits yet,
and rightfully so.
Bottom line, NBC should’ve stuck with their original plan of letting Leno go and going full force with O’Brien on the Tonight Show. Even if Leno did well on FOX or any other network, the outcome wouldn’t have been as damaging as this debacle has turned out to be. A former NBC exec said the 2004 plan, “This is strategic thinking, a long-term game plan, where they felt, ‘The talent we nurtured in Conan will not get away.’.” Oh sweet sweet irony!
“Hey NBC! Which one do you want more?!?!?!?!”
Check out Craig Ferguson(yet another late night guy who is funnier than Leno) weighs in with his thoughts on it all.