In the late night debacle that NBC has created I’m siding with Conan. I think it is a huge mistake for NBC to put Leno back to his old time slot. Not only are they screwing over Conan but they are messing with the Tonight Show’s legacy. Leno should have bowed out gracefully. NBC is even worse for allowing Leno to fail at a prime time show, drawing viewers away from the Tonight Show, then telling him he can have his old time slot back. I hope Conan goes somewhere he is appreciated. I will never watch anything with Jay Leno ever again.
Comedian Patton Oswalt recently gave an interview while promoting his new movie on DVD Big Fan and he talked about the situation. He really sums it up quite well in the interview. The YouTube video has been removed but this quote sums up Conan and Leno perfectly.
“You almost want to take [Leno] aside and ask him: Why do you want this so badly?” said Oswalt. “Because you don’t do anything with it. Whereas Conan clearly wants the show because there’s things he’s dying to do with his writing staff and places he wants to take the show … Conan’s way better than he was at 12:30 p.m., so [NBC] keep your hands off.”
He goes on to say that Leno just wants to go and tell jokes. That’s not a bad thing, but he can do that anywhere. Conan actually cares about the Tonight Show’s legacy and wants to push that forward. He also points to Leno’s reputation as a nice guy in public but how he does little mean things when he doesn’t get what he wants and compares him to Richard Nixon. Conan has finally responded to this all. If you haven’t read Conan’s statement, I’ve posted it below. I suggest you read it now.
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 decision.
Six years ago, I signed 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 sit in that chair has meant everything to me. I worked long and hard to get that opportunity, passed up far more lucrative offers, and since 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 impossible 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 sincerely believe that delaying the Tonight Show into the next day to accommodate another comedy program will seriously damage what I consider to be the greatest franchise in the history of broadcasting. The Tonight Show at 12:05 simply 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 consider losing 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.
Edit: I’ve thrown up a site in support of Conan. Download media to support Conan and contact NBC to voice your opinion. Team Coco – I’m with Coco