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Conan O’Brien

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image courtesy imwithcoco.com

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.

Yours,

Conan

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

During the 1990’s and early 2000’s I was a fan of Jay Leno on the Tonight Show. I think he did a good enough job, though his interview skills were highly lacking. I saw Letterman as an old person late night show and Leno as the more hip. As I grew older I started realizing that Leno just wasn’t funny, and was downright annoying during the interviews. Hey Jay, how about you let a guest finish a thought before you interrupt them. As I got older I started watching Conan. Conan is funny in a different way than Dave. I don’t think anyone can top Dave’s interview skills, just watch his interview with Juaquin Pheonix or John McCain during the 2008 Presidential campaign. Those were brilliant. Conan, on the other hand, had much better skits, a hipper crowd, and better musical guests. I thoroughly enjoyed Conan’s Late Night. I was excited to hear that he was going to take over for Leno when Leno retired from the Tonight Show. Of course Leno decided to be a complete dick and throw a wrench in the smooth transition. Regretting his decision to retire he decided to come back on a prime time show.  It has been an utter failure for NBC and its affiliates. Now NBC wants to put Leno back on after the local news, the 11:30 (10:30 Central) slot, completely screwing over Conan.

Here’s what NBC doesn’t understand, Leno sucks. Dave’s ratings have gotten better because of the controversy surrounding his feud with Sarah Palin and his affairs AND because they refuse to put their full support behind Conan. They say they did but if they really did they would have never given Leno a show. That hurt Conan just as much as Dave’s controversies. So, now they want to push Conan back to airing after Jay. If NBC does this, not only will I still continue to boycott Leno’s shitty show (I have yet to watch a version of his prime time show), I will boycott NBC completely. Thinking about it, that won’t be that hard as NBC really doesn’t have any good programming anymore (besides The Office and 30 Rock). Moving Leno back to after the news is not going to help the affiliates. You know what will? Good lead-in programming, which NBC does not have. I really hope Leno fails hard even worse when they move him back to the 11:30 slot. He deserves it. As for Conan, I would consider a network change if I was him. I’d watch him on any network.