Conan O’Brien Says No to NBC’s ‘Leno Show’ Plans

Conan O’Brien Says No to NBC’s ‘Leno Show’ Plans

UPDATE: Okay, make that two things you should read: O’Brien has just released a statement saying he will not go along with NBC’s plans to move his Tonight Show to 12:05AM to accommodate The Jay Leno Show’s move to 11:30. Nice guy or not, and O’Brien is a nice, professional guy, no one should be treated so badly, so publicly.

If you read nothing else about the ongoing Jay Leno Show/NBC/Conan O’Brien mess – make that hot mess – check out Gawker.TV‘s round-up of Conan’s brutally clever (and completely deserved) reactions to NBC’s shabby treatment of him and handling of the debacle on last night’s Tonight Show.

It’s hard to pick a favorite quote – he really lets everyone involved have it – but the quip about his possible future plans including “Move to FOX and follow their hit 24 with a new show called 24:05” might be it.

Meanwhile, also in the Gawker round-up: David Letterman and Craig Ferguson‘s comments on the fuss and NBC’s treatment of O’Brien. Letterman, of course, knows all too well what it’s like to be unfairly treated as leftovers to Leno (who, by the way, in years of hosting The Tonight Show and the Leno Show, has never been as funny as Conan was in that one segment last night).

  • 1

    I think Jerry Seinfeld said what a lot of people are thinking – that its about ratings and it was obvious he was not going to be successful in that time slot with 7 months or 17 months. He’s just too quirky to develop a mass following.

    He did not put language in his contract as Jay did about them moving the time-slot on his show and he is is still owed millions and millions of dollars for any outcome other than quitting outright (which he’d only due if promised even more millions from Fox).

    This was not a personal attack by NBC on Conan – they made good on their promise to give him the Tonight Show despite Leno leading the ratings for 17 straight years and now offered him a full hour to Leno’s half – but at a time slot more suited to his humor and audience. Business is business.

    • Kim said at January 14, 2010 at 3:00 pm
    • Reply

    Business is business, but there’s no reason to handle it in such a shoddy way, as NBC has yet again, the same way they handled the Leno/Letterman “Late Shift” affair years ago.

    As for Seinfeld’s comments, he doesn’t and can’t know what O’Brien would or wouldn’t do in 17 months. Leno wasn’t such a hit on The Tonight Show either until the Hugh Grant hooker scandal appearance. Besides, Seinfeld isn’t exactly objective about the network when he’s out pimping his new NBC show, The Marriage Ref.

    As for it not being a personal attack, that’s often an excuse used by people who treat others really badly, and by anyone’s definition, except, seemingly, Seinfeld’s, NBC has treated Conan, and for that matter, Leno, badly in this whole situation.

  • 3

    Well outside of being more cordial, I don’t think there was much else they could do. There is enough evidence that Leno will generate far better ratings at 11:30 and that’s what they need to do at this point. They never should have messed with a winning late night formula in the first place. Sucks for Conan, but he still gets his money and a chance to return to 12:30 or do a new gig for Fox. Who was Conan O’Brien anyway when NBC gave him that cushy job – he was a writer with no TV performing experience whatsover… Now he’s rich and famous.

    • Kim said at January 14, 2010 at 5:39 pm
    • Reply

    O’Brien proved himself, and made a ton of money for NBC along the way, and deserves more than 7 months on the job to show what he can do.

    And everyone, including Leno, deserves to do business with people who treat them respectfully. They’re all relatively rich and famous – what does that have to do with anything?

    • Kelvin Neely said at January 15, 2010 at 1:41 pm
    • Reply

    And NBC is making BANK in the usually dead pre-Olympics weeks because viewers are flocking in droves to see what Conan will say. He’s far more entertaining now that he’s “off the reservation”. Viewers don’t know what to expect and that generates excitement.

    Jay and Conan have gone from attacking NBC to attacking each other, which only adds more friction. They run the danger of looking petty if they keep bashing each other instead of the network. Maybe Bill Carter will write a book on this one too.

    Too bad some suit at NBC didn’t think of this as a way to build up both shows. A fake feud, well concealed, generates buzz. Just ask Howard Stern about his “feuds” with Bon Jovi and Sam Kinison.

    And poor Jimmy Kimmel has only one way to get noticed in all of this: by going on Leno’s show and then BASHING the host while he’s there. Brilliant!

    Who said they don’t like a good fight? Not me.

    • Kim said at January 15, 2010 at 2:06 pm
    • Reply

    Good points, Kelvin. It’s hard to believe any other network would allow themselves to be beaten up on their own network, or that any other host besides Leno would invite a guest who bashes him on his own show. Priceless.

    And let’s hope BIll Carter does write a book on this, and that HBO makes a movie version. The Late Shift is still a great read and one of the best made-for-TV flicks ever.

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