Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Conan O'Brien: I won't host 'Tonight Show' at 12:05 a.m.

And the story takes another crazy turn: Conan has put out a statement saying he doesn't want to host a 12:05 a.m. version of "Tonight."

Lots to sort out here, starting with this: does Conan host the show tonight, or does NBC plug in a rerun?

UPDATE: I have a much longer column about the Conan situation up at NJ.com.

81 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's about time. I'm glad he put his foot down, even if it doesn't work.

Adam said...

Maybe they'll re-run the episode they used the first night of the 1992 GOP Convention when Helen Kushnick sent the audience home because Ronald Reagan's valedictory speech ran long.

LA said...

Bravo, Conan!

His response was perfect.

Suck it, NBC. Jay, too.

ctgreekman said...

Conan = Classy

Jay = Not so classy

Stay classy Conan.

Jeff said...

I expected nothing less, but that was an excellent letter by Conan.

WhatTheFDidIDo said...

But if he quits, NBC kinda wins right? They get what the wanted, Jay back at 11:30. Though that does mean losing Conan.

Bobman said...

Ya know, before all this nonsense, I always liked Jay; I don't like his COMEDY, or even his show, but as a person he always seemed like a nice, normal guy.

And maybe he is, but the way this whole thing has been handled by him and NBC... I find it hard to defend him on any level any more.

Bravo Conan for standing up for himself. He deserves way better than NBC.

James D said...

Handled beautifully by CoCo. I just wish he would have given a bit more of an idea as to whats next (though i'm sure he doesn't even know that).

Kelly said...

I can not figure out what NBC's mad love for Jay is!? It is like they are desparate not to give him up, regardless of what else happens.

Great letter by Conan, I completely support him and could care less what Jay Leno does.

Anonymous said...

Jay Leno should do the right thing and step down. He should have retired last year when he passed the Tonight Show torch to Conan, and if anything, this is his last chance to bow out gracefully.

Also, I can't believe that Conan's contract doesn't have any clause about airtime.

Anonymous said...

Also, Conan you need not apologize for your hair, we love it.

cadfile said...

Classy statement - respect for the show that hasn't been shown by the NBC brass and respect for the Fallon and his show that Jay has yet to show for Conan.

I'm sure he may not have to wait long for other offers if NBC balks.

SJ said...

Last night's Tonight Show was a little....tense? It was funny but you could clearly tell how displeased Conan was.

meopta said...

IANACF, but I think I'll have to watch whatever he does next, because that's the most mature, adult declaration I've seen in a long time.

Stephanie said...

A terrific letter. And good for Conan for standing by his principles. I suspect the offers will be forthcoming should he end up leaving NBC, but with none as of yet, it was a brave thing to do.

Whatever happens, I hope he lands on his feet somewhere that will value his talent.

NoMoreVegas said...

In all the discussion of Jay vs. Conan, I find myself wondering, what does this mean for Jimmy Kimmel? Where is he in the ratings and has Conan's takeover of The Tonight Show benefited Kimmel's ratings at all?

ThreeSheets said...

Jay Leno: The Brett Favre of late night talk shows.

(Of course, that all worked out well for the Vikings and Packers)

Anonymous said...

Why on earth have so many of you picked sides in this little battle? Are you really that foolish that you think 1) this matters and 2) this matters to you? It doesn't really matter, and you have no real stake in it. It matters to Alan because it's news, but the rest of you who are cheering on one party or the other are kind of silly. Which rich white guy gets to host a show at 11:35? Who cares? Get a life.

Jerry said...

Probably because it's a blog about television, therefore people here tend to have opinions about, you know, television shows and people who work in television. Hope that's not too hard for you to follow.

dez said...

The stake, for fans, is being able to watch their favorite talk-show host doing what he does best. So yes, it does matter in that regard.

Go, Conan! I look forward to whatever it is you do next (German dance parties being a good start) :-)

Rachael said...

Anon--I agree that the whole picking sides thing is a little silly. It's neither Conan nor Leno's fault--in fact, I think Leno is getting unfairly bashed here. NBC screwed him over too--he's just always been quieter about it than the other guys.

However, this whole ordeal does affect us as television viewers. NBC's decision to put Leno in an hour formely reserved for scripted shows changed the landscape--and in my opinion, not in a good way. The fact that it is failing is a relief to me.

But yeah, get some ladies and/or POC up there. The whole white male dominated late night landscape is tiresome in general.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 4:24 p.m. said "Who cares? Get a life."

Evidently you care enough about whether OTHER people care that you felt the compelling need to comment on the Internet, anonymously. So you got that goin' for ya, in lieu of said life.

But then, I cared enough to be snarky about it, so I guess I don't have one either. . .

dan said...

does it get lonely up on your pedastal anonymous?

Anonymous said...

I am a big fan of Conan and not of Jay, but my biggest thought about all this is that all this crap just makes life for Chuck that much easier, doesn't it? The more hectic and messed up NBC's situation is, doesn't that mean they are likely to hold on to shows which have loyal if not huge followings? And with the ratings pretty good for the first three, might we be able to relax a bit about the future of our favorite spy?

-DamnYankees

MDS said...

WWJDD = What Would Jack Donaghy Do?

LDP said...

Long live Conan! Long live Dave!

mark said...

NBC is the bad guy here, but Conan is showing a lot of class and self respect here. Bravo for that. It doesn't just affect him, but his entire staff and their families that had to relocate. For what? To be treated like crap? I wish Jay would just go away. NBC has messed around with him. It's not Jay that is screwing Conan, but I think the classy thing is for Jay to just say goodbye and move on.

Tyroc said...

Where do I get my Team Conan T-shirt?

DonBoy said...

If you saw the Simpsons anniversary special on Sunday, you know that Conan has a fallback idea: he said he'd take a dollar a year to do nothing but come up with weird things for Mr. Burns to say and do. I say he should go for it.

Andrew said...

How much of the drop in Tonight Show ratings has to do with Conan delivering less than Leno than the Tonight Show having an even smaller lead-in than it did even one year ago?

Were I Jack Donaghy, I'd keep Conan in the Sheinhardt Wig Company family on the Tonight Show at 11:35-- not because it's necessarily going to pay off in ratings, but because it's part of the evolution that NBC needs to be going through right now to put more compelling quality shows on TV because it needs people to watch. And going with Conan over Jay signals that you intend to chase the funny in comedy rather than the middling and mediocre.

Which is why Conan will probably be hosting his show on Fox next year, the ratings for the Tonight Show, the Conan Show and the Late Show will all be down (as the audience scatters) and Stephen Colbert still has the funniest show on TV at 11:30.

What will be interesting to see what happens if NBC stays with Conan. Will Fox want Leno? He's not so much on their brand as much as O'Brien. Would ABC dump Nightline/Kimmel for a Leno show?

belinda said...

Go Conan! As much as this sucks, I'm so glad Conan did decide to give up the beloved Tonight Show brand and reject NBC's insulting offer of a new time slot (which would technically become the Early Morning Show!). Conan better gets his full compensation for the breach of contract from NBC.

I am so looking forward to seeing Conan on FOX. Make it work, FOX.

Stef said...

Classy, honest, and very well-written. Way to go Conan!

renton said...

Interesting that the two people who have professed deep love/respect/admiration for the institution of The Tonight Show, Dave and Conan, will likely be its direct competitors on rival networks.

Build A Better Fan said...

As we know now, it will be a new episode of Conan, and just after Conan goes and publishes this open letter to NBC, he has Zach Levi as a guest tonight. Sweet.

jenmoon said...

I'm applauding Conan for this, and I hope this gambit works out for him somehow. *cough*Fox*cough*. Am disappointed that so far nobody else has made him any better offers, though. I don't know what the heck happens after this.

Anonymous said...

Conan is hosting tonight. Should be good.

TL said...

I love how Conan manages to write a classy response that nonetheless has lawsuit posturing written all over it. NBC set him up to fail by giving him neither time to build an audience nor programming support, and then undercut him by having his predecessor on just 30 minutes before the Tonight Show began. Hard to see how NBC doesn't have to cough up money both to buy Conan out of his contract and compensate him for the fact that his failure at NBC certainly makes him less marketable to Fox or whomever comes next.

Doesn't NBC realize that its eating its young? Jay Leno can't host forever. Even if hangs on another 8 years and finally retires at the same age as Carson, who's the natural successor at this point?

Alan Sepinwall said...

My longer take on the situation is now up.

JanieJones said...

Conan and his staff and PR team have taken a classy route. I applaud Conan. I do not watch late night talk/comedy shows (the exception being John Stewart) unless there is a truly compelling guest/music act. I feel bad for all parties involved.
This was always about money/advertising dollars. NBC should be whipped for this embarrassment. It didn't take a crystal ball to see where this would fall, I mean really folks, many have been calling for Leno's head from the get-go, Conan's ratings have not been spot-on, the whole thing is a bloody mess.

I hope Conan goes to cable. I think he could make quite an impression along with the freedom building a little empire.
Leno- I've always thought Jay was workaholic. It's time to sit back, enjoy your toys, your money and not last, your wife.

NBC=Nothing But Crass

Ridiculous denizens, they should be ousted-I am looking at you, Jeff Zucker.

toonsterwu said...

good for conan. I almost feel bad for jeff gaspin in some respects. He didn't create this mess.

Tbh, the one thing they should've done is simply let Jay Leno go. That said, I imagine Leno will get the Tonight Show back, and Conan will be on Fox soon enough.

Anonymous said...

Go Conan! I would have been disappointed if he'd agreed to NBC's shenanigans.

mac35 said...

Will be watching tonight for the monologue and as a super extra bonus, Zach Levi is supposed to be on. Double win!

alynch said...

He never angled, either in public or private, to take Jay Leno's job on "The Tonight Show"

I don't know if that's true. In this NY Times article from 2004, both Conan and his manager made it pretty clear that they had their eyes on the prize. Conan's a player, just like everyone else, which isn't to say that NBC's treatment of him isn't disgraceful, because it definitely is.

kath said...

Alan, after reading your column at NJ.com, why does NBC have to let Conan go? Why can't they give up on Leno? Why all this mess to hold onto Leno at this point?

Is it simply because NBC reasons, given the current ratings for Conan, if Conan is out and Leno is given the full Tonight Show back, he could get back his audience and beat Letterman?

They need to cut Leno loose, stick with their contract with Conan (that was agreed to 6 years ago!) and give Conan the time he deserves to build his audience.

Wherever Conan winds up, he's got me following him.

kath said...

And as just a rhetorical aside, doesn't Leno feel bad about pushing Conan out of his job so publicly?

Yes, I know, he basically did it to Carson and Letterman, but this is just beyond. He failed miserably at this 10pm experiment, then expects to get Tonight back? It's embarassing. He needs to be gracious about it and stop playing the victim.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, totally team Conan. Classy statement. Whatever happens I hope he and his crew do well where ever they land.

Anonymous said...

Graceful, direct, and honest statement from Coco. I haven't watched his show lately (found it to be a bit watered down, last I checked), but I'll be doing whatever I can to help his ratings wherever he ends up after this mess. I've never understood Leno's appeal, and yet NBC had to have known that Conan would reject this. I'm wondering whether middle America has seen enough of this PR brouhaha to affect Leno's ratings after Vancouver, or is all this happening in more of an echo chamber?

Suck it, Zucker!

Matt said...

My guess is that Conan's contract doesn't have an express guarantee about timeslot, because it specificially guaranteed that he would be hosting "The Tonight Show." (It's very clear that the name/title were specified in the contract from the remarks NBC folks have made.)

If this winds up getting litigated, Conan's going to try and make the case that "The Tonight Show" means "The show that's on NBC at 11:35 PM EST." Personally, I think he's got a decent chance of proving that if he had to, but at this point, it's a game of chicken for side issues. For instance, which bits can Conan take with him--are band members/staff subject to non-compete or under contract with NBC? God forbid, does NBC own the masturbating bear?

Ashley said...

This one is tough for me.

On one hand, I agree whole-heartedly that Leno is a brown noser to the Nth degree. But at the same time, I never, EVER pictured O'Brien in The Tonight Show chair. His style, and form of comedy just didn't seem like a good fit for the history of the show.

NBC could not have possibly handled this any worse. They lose now no matter what they do. Can you put "yes man" Leno back in the TS seat and expect anyone to take him seriously?

Can O'Brien be expected to stay in that seat if this all blows over? He'll never trust the network again.

Of course, this was all set in motion the moment the idiots at NBC promised Conan the TS chair at a certain date. No way they should have ever done that. It sowed the seeds of the current destruction.

A-T-G said...

I am utterly gripped by this entire 'drama'. I was a HUGE Carson fan and watched him whenever my mother let me stay up late. I watched him on video, for cryin' out loud! I was never a huge Leno fan but, I watched his "Tonight Show" as I watched most of the NBC shows back in the day. My evening highlight was Late Night with Conan O'Brien. I never missed an episode!

When my local NBC affiliate lost their NBC broadcast and the NBC station moved to a channel I couldn't get, I stopped watching NBC completely. As soon as I "discovered" tv shows online, I was back to watching Conan. I was thrilled when NBC signed Conan to a contract that promised him "The Tonight Show" and stunned when NBC cut him off at the knees with the creation of "The Jay Leno Show". I think Jay and Conan got screwed by NBC; Jay agreeing to the 10p experiment tarnished his TS legacy and NBC's current scrambling make Conan look incapable.

Thanks, Alan for the updates, I'm devouring every word.

A-T-G said...

Since Conan's got Zach Levi on tonight, should we show support to them both with Subway sandwiches?

Nicole said...

Conan has over 50 years of precedent that the Tonight Show starts after the local news. He has a strong case if this went to court.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't the point of promising Conan The Tonight Show six years ago to avoid all of the drama that accompanied the last transition in hosts? Way to avoid that landmine, NBC!

Anonymous said...

I don't see much to distinguish the late night guys - they all do a bit of standup, some taped thing, two guests then a song. Personal taste dictates who's monologue/interview style you prefer.Is the hatred for Leno all to do with him getting the Tonight Show over Letterman all those years ago? I get that he's not cool enough to be "critically acclaimed", but we're led to believe that Leno is really a machiavelian, a*hole stealing everyone's god-given right to hold certain jobs? NBC tried desperately to keep Conan 5 years ago and so told Jay he wouldn't have a job in 5 yrs. OK Jay agreed but he was rating so well at the end of it (even though everyone hates him, go figure) they had to "work on new projects" so he wouldn't be the one to set up shop at another network. This is all a bit of handbags at 10 paces while we wait to see which multimillionaire will make his lawyer very very rich.

Otto Man said...

Suck it, NBC. Jay, too.

Yes, and yes. Go, Coco!

inabl said...

NBC seems determined to run their network into the ground. They're reactive and reactionary rather than visionary. Talk shows in general seem to me to be dying anyways—for NBC to have invested so much of their schedule in an antiquated format always seemed insane to me, and apparently to most of the TV critics whose opinion I respect. I'm not a big Conan fan, but I HATED Jay's show (just lame...I'm sure he's an okay guy personally but his humor was so weak). However, I don't believe that these shenanigans reflect badly on Jay, but rather on NBC's complete mismanagement of their last major corporate asset. Once NBC put Leno in at 10pm, everyone—Jay, Conan, Fallon, and the network in general—was completely screwed, with ZERO chance of a good outcome for anyone. I think NBC as a network will be gone within 5 years.

NJMarkB said...

(Leno) should have retired last year when he passed the Tonight Show torch to Conan, ...

He didn't pass it so much as he felt it was taken from him. What did NBC expect Leno to do? Just disappear?


I can't believe that Conan's contract doesn't have any clause about airtime.

Exactly. According to the "Late Shift" movie (based on the book), NBC had a right to match any contract CBS offered Letterman, so CBS put in an 11:30 time-slot with a penalty, which they knew NBC would not agree to.

I thought that would be standard language at this point. (Didn't Conan see that movie?)

I'm with Matt above on the contractual meaning of "The Tonight Show" as "the show at 11:35."

When June 2009 rolled around, no one would think NBC was living up to the contract if they said that they were honoring it by renaming the 11:35 show as "The Jay Leno Show," and the 12:35 show as "The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien."

As if "we gave him the Tonight Show - heh, we just didn't say when it would run" would fly. That would be right up there with "Ha! Fingers crossed!"

It's about the time-slot as much as the title. Would that contract allow them run the show at 2 am? Or 4 am, as long as it was called "The Tonight Show"?

Anonymous said...

I stand by my earlier comments: who really cares? As if the tonight show is some sacred institution that matters? I don't think leno is funny and I'm not on his team. But calling conan classy? Really? He angled for that job for years, collected a ton of money to stay on NBC while he waited for jay to be pushed out the door prematurely and is now acting like a spoiled baby. He's so concerned with the institution of the tonight show? Please, he only cares about his own interests, just like everyone else in the world. What's so classy about that?

Nicole said...

Leno failed to provide NBC with the ratings it wanted at 10 pm, so instead of just cancelling his show and letting him go, they reward him with another job. I know that NBC tends to reward failure, but when contracts have been signed by all parties, they need to abide by them. Conan has lower ratings, but he was not the complete failure that Leno was. It's a pretty simple employment contract situation: If your co-worker decides to take another position in the company and you replace him, and then he comes back and wants to push you out, the company can't then change the terms of your employment. NBC messed this up big time and deserves to pay.

Jay can't be deaf to the the negative press about him, so I suspect he may not bother going back to 11:30pm.

Colby said...

"I stand by my earlier comments: who really cares?"

Well, for one- YOU. You're talking about it, dude- hell, you've devoted two posts to it now.

"and is now acting like a spoiled baby"

Not really. He's not throwing tantrums in public, he's just saying if they move the show to 12:05, he won't host it. Nothing wrong with that, NBC has made it clear that it's his choice. Sure, he's looking out for himself- but as you said, EVERYONE does that. Nothing wrong with it, if you can do it in a fair and empathetic way, as Conan clearly has.

Andrew said...

Conan passed up the opportunity to earn a lot MORE money than he earned at Late Night when other networks offered him substantially larger sums of money to host a show at 11 or 11:30. And one of the things that NBC offered to keep him from jumping to a competitor and staying in the NBC family was the promise of taking over the Tonight Show when Leno's contract was up.

Anonymous said...

Conan most likely belongs on another network, perhaps basic cable where his particular sense of humor can remain unchanged. However, it's a giant shame that Conan was never GIVEN the chance to try and make his comedy work for a broader audience.

In the end, if Leno gets the Tonight Show back then NBC will "win." Despite how much angst and hatred there is for Leno on the internet, the vast majority of America simply doesn't give a crap about the behind the scenes shenanigans.

Anonymous said...

There won't be litigation given NBC's need to move on from this quickly and try to recover whatever ground they have loss with this debacle.

Also, they obviously feel that Leno's track record means they are backing the stronger horse for 11:30 and even Conan to FOX scenario is acceptable.

Problem when NBC thought they could get away with this: Conan is too wealthy to put up with being embarrassed in public especially having stuck with NBC partially out of loyalty.

He does need to make sure his crew is okay and he lands somewhere quickly. This is the same guy who was paying a number of staff members out of pocket during the strike. So there should be much room for negotiations. In fact NBC can think of it as a big salary dump Conan for Fallon. Get way under that cap NBC, LeBron is a free agent this year. Just cam to the conclusion that NBC = NY Knicks. Silverman = Isiah. Zucker = Dolan.

Anonymous said...

According to a relative who works for Fox, most of the Fox affiliates don't want Conan because they stand to lose substantial money if he takes an 11 pm show. As it stands, the local affiliates get to keep 100 percent of their revenue by running syndicated shows between 11- midnight. If Conan takes that slot, they will have to split revenues with NBC. Whether the Fox affiliates have enough pull to prevent an offer to Conan remains to be seen. But if NBC is to be believed, the pressure from their affiliates played heavily into the decision to cancel Leno's 10 pm show. Time will tell.

Personally, I think it would be great for Conan to get a development deal with someone like HBO or another cable channel where he'd have greater creative freedom. Or sit back and count his money and wait for Letterman to retire.

As for his statement today, well played, Conan. And shame on NBC.

filmcricket said...

I don't like Leno's humour and never have, but I really don't think he's the bad guy here. He didn't want to give up the show, he was asked to, because Conan was going to jump to another network if he didn't get the "Tonight Show" sooner rather than later. And Conan has certainly said on the record that he wanted to try out the bigger room, even if he didn't mention the Tonight Show by name.

The whole point is really how the Jay Leno Show has affected the affiliates, which people seem to keep forgetting. Conan's ratings vs. Jay's in the big chair are a secondary matter. I really hope Conan gets a shot at a show somewhere else, or a development deal of some kind.

Anonymous said...

couldn't leno just go on at 12:35? Or 1:35?

filmcricket said...

@ Anonymous: Jinx! You totally owe me a coke. :)

Interesting about the Fox affiliates; Kevin Reilly said in the NY Times that they could force the affiliates to take the show, but then Fox might be facing the same debacle NBC is somewhere down the line.

Tyro.k.y said...

To the rude anonymous poster, why bother commenting on a blog about a certain topic just to hate?

What's even more silly than commenting on issues that have no real affect on people is to comment how much you hate that people are discussing it. Hey! You've just discussed it. Get over yourself, log off the net, lock yourself in the room and take your ego to a mirror. It's life. People like to converse.

And, it's fine to take sides, even if it's being neutral on the matter.

Go coco! go!

LB said...

"He didn't want to give up the show, he was asked to"

The key word being Leno was ASKED. If he wasn't ready to retire, he should have played hardball. Talked up his ability to defect to another network. Made clear he wasn't ready to retire. But he did NONE OF THE ABOVE. Leno has a tendency to not be upfront in the effort to appear like a company man or agreeable.

NBC is mostly at fault due to its unwillingness to make a choice but part of the blame definitely goes to Leno for not making clear his wishes 5 years ago when this deal was being negotiated. If he was unhappy, he should have said so then instead of screwing people over now.

Coco, Fallon and the other one are being shafted.

Anonymous said...

If NBC is so desperate to hold onto Leno why can't they just create some kind of daytime show for him? It would certainly beef up their presence in daytime now that they're down to only one soap and with Oprah about to end there's plenty of room for another big name.

Or if both Leno and Conan are both desperate to stay in late night why they just produce their own show and sell it into syndication like Arsenio Hall used to? Then they could circumvent all this network bs.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't Carson not really ready to retire either, but Leno and his people somewhat forced the issue and Carson thus retired. If I'm remembering right he wasn't ready and I don't think he was happy with who was replacing him, but he did it anyway. Please someone correct me if I'm remembering wrong!

If so Leno should follow suit. If he didn't want to give up TTS he shouldn't have agreed to it. He is part of the problem now. NBC is mostly to blame, but Leno has a hand in this too.

film said...

"NBC is mostly at fault due to its unwillingness to make a choice but part of the blame definitely goes to Leno for not making clear his wishes 5 years ago when this deal was being negotiated. If he was unhappy, he should have said so then instead of screwing people over now."

I agree that Leno should have stood up for himself and that passive-aggressive seems to be his default setting. All I'm saying is that I don't think he's "screwing people over now" - all of the current mess is on NBC, in my opinion. Leno delivered what the network asked of him, the results were not good enough for the affiliates, and here we are.

And I absolutely agree that Conan's getting the shaft here; I didn't mean to imply otherwise.

rosengje said...

Alan, I would love if you posted some commentary on all of the different late night hosts and their responses to this fiasco. The roomies and I were in awe of Craig Ferguson tonight. I expected Dave and Conan to be (endearingly) brutal and bitter, but calling NBC execs slimy rat bastards? Damnnn. This has provided some great fodder for the men of late night, at the very least.

Nicole said...

I didn't see the entire show, but it looked like Kimmel was in character as Leno for most of it, purposefully making bad jokes with the white wig and prosthetic chin. Funny, yet harsh, especially considering that Kimmel and Leno seemed to get along following the writer's strike.

Conan, while a little perturbed, also seems to be working this like he did the strike, with the guests joining in. It makes for good television in any case.

I don't see how Leno can return to 11:30, especially being the butt of so many of the jokes from almost all the shows.

Larry McHenry said...

Absolutely spot-on move by Conan. I wish him the best of luck over at Fox, and I hope this shows the world what kind of person Jay Leno is, now that he's pushed out two great hosts from The Tonight Show".

And kudos to Jimmy Kimmel last night for doing one of the most scathing pieces of satire in the history of the medium. His impression of Jay Leno and the kind of show he does was screamingly funny.

Anonymous said...

Letterman was fantastic about all of this last night. Long live Dave!

ps said...

Jimmy Kimmel did the whole show as Leno (and Chevy Chase donned a Conan wig for his interview). Conan was awesome last night, though. It was like a strike show. A little breathless, a little high strung, not as "professional," and really great as a result. I hope he keeps his show, but I think Fox or any other network would be lucky to have him.

If he does have to leave, I wish he would go and write something before doing another talk show. A movie or a Comedy Central cartoon, or something. He's a really hilarious writer (the sketches are always my favorite part of the show), and I'd like to see him produce something different.

Anonymous said...

Great story at Time:

http://curiouscapitalist.blogs.time.com/2010/01/12/a-brief-moment-of-jeff-zucker-related-schadenfreude/

Oh, and Conan O'Brien has had reason to harbor a Zuckergrudge as well. From a 2004 BusinessWeek story:

Too small to pursue his fantasy of playing football for the Miami Dolphins, Zucker took to writing local sports stories for The Miami Herald. He continued his writing career as an undergraduate at Harvard University, where he covered sports for The Harvard Crimson. He later became president of the publication. It was at Harvard that Zucker first met Conan O'Brien, now an NBC late-night host, who worked for humor magazine the Harvard Lampoon. As a prank, O'Brien's staff stole all the Crimson issues one day before they could be delivered. Zucker called the cops. "My first meeting with Jeff Zucker was in handcuffs, with a Cambridge police officer reading me my rights," says O'Brien.

dez said...

Which of the hosts called NBC "slimy rat bastards"?

There are reports this morning that Leno may leave NBC, too (as well as one gossip columnist hinting Seinfeld may take over TTS). This whole thing is insane.

Anonymous said...

Craig called them "lying rat bastards" in last night's monologue.

Anonymous said...

Apparently, George Lang of The Oklahoman thinks that talk of Leno jumping ship is a ruse. Based on the quotations provided by the alleged insider, I'm inclined to agree. The idea that moving Leno back at 11:35 somehow makes his job less secure with Conan gone is hard to take seriously.