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One of the jokes they used to poke fun at NBC actually is ironic. The joke being the 5P tour is not the 5P tour if it is later, wink wink…but think about it, why not? Why isn’t the Tonight Show the Tonight Show if it is at 12M? Because Conan says it isn’t? Don’t understand the anger towards Jay on this, why wasn’t anyone angry at Conan for taking Jay’s job 5 years ago?
He didn’t “take aim” at Jay at all, just NBC. Frankly, I’m getting a little tired of this blog and its readers believing that Jay somehow has a part in all of this. He’s getting screwed over just as much as Conan.
You know i just had a thought. Maybe it’s stupid, but here me out. With all this increased publicity there are probably a lot more people checking out Conan’s show right now, right??? So, maybe the best thing to do is let this situation boost Conan in the Tonight Show. After all, wasn’t it Hugh Grant coming on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno right after his scandal that led to Leno beating Dave for the first time in a year and a half???
Zuck Suck, (that’s my nickname for loser at NBC), can salvage this situation by ramping up the controversy and then… wait for it… leaving Conan where he is. Why not? Who will be the odd man out? Well, Jay of course. Someone will have to be screwed here and Jay is probably it. It would be a gutsy move and the ratings will tell the tale, but i don’t know this doesn’t sound like a bad plan, non? What’s Jay’s contract like? How much money is he owed? I think Conan has to stay at the Tonight Show if let’s say NBC decides to just leave him alone, no?
I suspect that the enticement to get Jay to move to primetime (where the risk was massive that his show wouldn’t work) is such that NBC would have to pay a crazy, Conan-dwarfing settlement for ending his show this early. But who knows?
Better to crap on Conan and then just let him out of the Tonight Show with no non-compete and no payoff when he delusionally sets up a new 11:30 show at Fox.
Thank God all parties aren’t milking this for all it’s worth, since NBC is worth nothing.
Call me conspiratorial, but I think there’s about a 5% chance that the way NBC is handling this situation is a publicity stunt. The network is getting major attention right now, and a lot of people are backing Conan (saw a poll that showed something like 83%). NBC knows they aren’t keeping Jay, so hype up a bit of conspiracy around Conan’s show for a nice little ratings boost and see what happens. The letter he released is the perfect statement to rile up his fans and get people more enthusiastic about watching his show. When the numbers come out over the next few weeks and we see the rise in popularity of Conan’s show, Jay talk will dwindle and they’ll happily pay him off.
Just a theory.
In regards to your conspiracy theory, what you are suggesting is that a conscious decision was made to be deceitful (basically lie)in order to stir the shit pot to get the ratings up which will probably work…. well for a week or so anyway. Sounds like the MO for Zucker and company to me……
Picture this: You’re sitting in your office at work, and you’re feeling on top of the world. Your production is bringing in by far the most money for the company, hands down. Sure, you’re not winning any awards for business creativity, but what’s an award mean anyway when you’re winning the bottom line? In other words: You’re the alpha dog and everyone knows it. One day your boss walks in your office. He tells you he appreciates the job you’re doing — no question, you bring in the most money and eyeballs — but, sadly, he has to let you go because there’s a younger guy that wants your job, and they’re afraid to lose him. The younger guy is great at what he does but has no proven track record doing your job. Regardless, you’re told that in five years he’s getting your position and to not let the door hit you in the a** on the way out. This is what it was like to be Jay Leno in 2004.
Now, instead of sulking, or, even more impressive, not just outright tanking the job, therefore sabotaging the position for his younger, more hip replacement … Leno excels. He brings in around 5.7 million viewers a night (compared with his eventual replacement O’Brien’s roughly 2.9 million viewers). The five years go quickly but, it was agreed upon, even though his rating are the best, he’s still losing his job. How is that at all fair to Leno? All he did was host the highest-rated late night talk show and, for his efforts, he was let go. And he hands the show over while still on top. But wait! The NBC executives woke up at the last minute. What if Leno goes to another network and dominates there, too? So, they offer him a 10 p.m. variety show in order to avoid that scenario. This is like, paraphrasing our previous scenario, a top dog sausage employee being given a new job, but instead of in bratwurst-craving Milwaukee, the new position makes him relocate to San Francisco — one of the healthiest cities in America. There is no way he can match his prior production thanks to different demand. Not only that, his lack of production directly affects his replacement back in Milwaukee, which is bringing the entire company down. It was a no-win situation for everyone involved. Yes, it’s the Kobayashi Maru — and Leno is no James T. Kirk.
From most accounts (i.e. people not named Conan O’Brien or David Letterman) Jay Leno is a pretty nice guy. And, yes, the man completely dumbed down his comedy for the sake of ratings — no question. But can you look at yourself in the mirror and honestly say that you’ve never compromised — even a little bit — for the sake of your job? Even Letterman and Conan dumbed down their respective shows when they moved to an earlier time slot, just not to the extent that Leno did. In the end, who got the highest ratings? Leno.
There are a lot of rumblings that Leno is behind the scenes of this NBC debacle, pulling the strings like a master puppeteer in order to get his old job back; fair enough, he’s done this before in the early 1990s. But, really, that was his former manager Helen Kushnick’s doing, who he fired shortly after that debacle. It’s hard not to think Leno learned his lesson from that experience. And now we’re hearing that Leno might leave NBC, too. Is this posturing? Maybe. But let’s assume for a second that he is behind the scenes pulling the strings. Well, what would you be doing right now? That was your show and you loved it. You never wanted to leave, you had the highest ratings and you were forced out by a guy that is now losing to a competitor (Letterman) that you used to mop the floor with. And now YOU’RE the one taking a beating in the press? How is this fair? In your mind, that show is still rightfully yours. You wouldn’t at least put up a little bit of a fight for it? Really, it’s hard to blame him for having an eff you, I told you so attitude.
No one is ever going to confuse Leno’s brand of comedy with anything even bordering on highbrow and he’s never going to be the media darling, but, it’s undeniable that he pulled in the ratings and, when at ‘The Tonight Show,’ kept the affiliates happy — something Conan was not doing and Letterman, when at NBC, didn’t care about. He dumbed his show down to reach the wider audience; which, ironically, as the ratings proved, was the smart move. Leno played the game. Leno was winning the game. Who can really blame him for wanting to collect his prize?
Your POV is very well stated and you make some very valid points. However, to borrow your analogy, Jay is sausage. He’s bad for America. Dumbing down is never a good thing and sausage clogs the arteries that lead to something better.
Maybe Conan isn’t broccoli but he isn’t one step up from Hee Haw either. The irony of Jay’s “Jaywalking” segment is that it’s a comedy bit highlighting stupidity from a guy that has made a name dumbing down comedy for the slack-jawed masses.
That doesn’t make Jay a bad person (perhaps just a smart person), but guys like Conan and (to a much greater extent) Jon Stewart are steps in the right direction. Give Conan time.
However… whatever Kushnick’s role, when the struggle between him and Letterman surfaced into an ugly rumble, Leno was there himself pushing hard (even sneaking into offices to covertly listen in on conference calls then throwing bits from the private discussions into exec’s faces to intimidate them).
So… if it was all about hard work and fairness, didn’t Letterman, who, by comparison, felt it unseemly to lobby aggressively out of deference to Carson and who singlehandedly built a winning, profitable franchise for NBC from scratch, deserve to be Johnny’s heir? Wasn’t he rightfully in line?
Jay Leno did nothing to build the Tonight Show. Face it–It was just another fancy vehicle he wanted to own.
Add to the fairness equation the fact that Letterman selflessly gave Leno so much air-time before Leno was a known quantity and I think the reasonable conclusion is that Leno invited punitive karma. He has little right to complain.
He jumped the line.
Now, his case, and yours, is that he was a better employee, more loyal to NBC and better with the ratings. Well, how would Letterman have done with The Tonight Show? Much better, likely, since The Tonight Show wouldn’t have been competing against someone strong at CBS–unless Leno ran over there. Well… so much for loyalty to NBC then. More like: I’ll do anything for you NBC, so long as you let me jump the line; otherwise, I’ll go elsewhere and bleed you.
Why couldn’t Leno take Letterman’s slot and wait in line? The option was there.
And again, since Leno sold himself as a more loyal company man than Letterman–backed by support from affiliates he slavishly lobbied–then he should have accepted that NBC’s best interests necessitated a Tonight Show transition and not inhibited it at all.
Your best case is the timing of that transition. On that score, NBC likely made a mistake prodded by Conan who, I think unwisely, overestimated his appeal.
Conan could have learned a lot from Jon Stewart, who realizes it’s not about a bigger stage or paycheck, but about the vehicle that best lets you maximize your strengths as an artist/performer.
But, damn, what an entertaining spectacle. Letterman laughs last. And I ain’t complaining.
It’s fair because Leno agreed to it. And most younger people feel he’s had his time and it’s time to step down. And yes, steeping down when on top is ALWAYS the better way to go.
Conan was on fire tonight.
Just let him have the show, NBC, and move Leno to the 7pm slot. His audience of old timers will love watching him after coming home from eating their early bird specials.
Okay…We get it.
I have been supporting Conan through all of this hoopla.
But after his extremely classy statement/letter delivered to the masses earlier this week, maybe it’s time to put the sarcasm to rest and let the events unfold in an equally classy manner.
That, or dig a little deeper for the jabs.
A LOT of people are on your side, Conan…Don’t lose them.
this video is genius LOL
“Why isn’t the Tonight Show the Tonight Show if it is at 12M?”
1) Technically, because 12AM is actually TOMORROW, not “tonight.”
2) There are decades and decades of brand & viewer expectation attached to 11:35.
Why isn’t it Christmas if it’s on December 26th?
Techinally, Christmas is on the 26th of December and there are some holidays associated with a post December 25th date. One of them is Boxing Day which occurs on the 26th.
Christmas Eve is the 24th, Christmas is the 25th, what the hell are you talking about “technically on the 26th? You then point out another holiday that actually IS the 26th, Boxing Day. Did you read your post before you submitted it? It makes no sense.
Coco, run away from NBC as fast as you can. Leno’s ego got smashed and YOU pay the price??
How can conan even have a chance at his ratings when the same type of show is on an hour and half before. Leno never had another variety show on the same network to compete against.
YES!!! Agree totally. Conan is a singular talent. He is younger and different then Jay. He will….err would have succeeded. Never got the chance, never got the time.
Conan was down from the start when replacing Conan, then found his audience and never looked back. Leno was down, found Hugh Grant and never looked back. That is how a transition works.
7 months! Leno on at 10 with the same show, jokes, lighting, set, similar guest…not fair.
Stop blaming Conan and buying into the Zucker line that Conan was rating poorly. He never got an even chance.
Conan gladly accepted The Tonight Show position and bumped Jay out when Jay was #1. Jay works at 11:35, Conan doesn’t. Why is Conan schocked that Jay would want his position back. Yes it is NBC that screwed up the whole situation but people should not be blaming Jay. Conan you will never trust NBC again and you will get hammered in the press if you don’t boost your ratings if you stay- leave and go to a network that wants what you want. I loved Jay on The Tonight Show, I don’t think this type of show no matter who hosts it works in Primetime.
Its very sad how this situation has been handled. Conan has every right to be angry at NBC.
Conan O’Brien needs to man up and quit the crying and complaining thing.
If people were to open their eyes and look at the facts the facts will show that it was Conan who was planning on leaving so the NBC “suits” forced Jay to sign a contract that he would leave at the end of his contract. As the time approached, Jay was very nicely in the Number ONE rated position and was possibly looking at another network and once again the NBC “suits” got a severe panic attack and thus, Jay was not ready to retire just yet and so some adjustments, to include this primetime experiment did not work out for either Jay or Conan.
I don’t feel sorry for Conan at all.
ALOT of people are on your side. Stay smart and sincere and you will come through just fine. You are a loyal and dedicated employee so keep it that way.
To be fair, Conan had 5 years to create his vision for TTS and 7 months to put it in front of the viewers. Those same viewers rejected Conan’s vision for TTS. Whose fault is that? Certainly not Jay Leno’s.
Conan is a critical darling, younger people love him, he has great appeal on the coasts. But he has a tough time relating to the affiliates and he’s not advertiser-friendly and people not on the coasts like Leno more.
Still, Zucker zucked this up and royally. Gaspin is a talented executive, but even he won’t be able to clean up this mess.
i was supporting both conan & jay, i thought nbc screwed them BOTH over, but after last night, forget Conan. I thought he was classier than that. Why doesn’t he dig in to Zucker like that.
Jay makes the network money & somehow that’s HIS fault? Conan couldn’t keep the 11:35 audience on NBC & he won’t be able to at another network.
I think conan’s ego has gotten the better of him, and now that his reps messed his contract not stating a time for the “tonight show” he’s just firing at anybody.
I hope they pull the plug on him & show re-runs.