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Conan is out, won't do show following Leno


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Conan O’Brien released a statement Tuesday saying that he no longer wants to host NBC’s “Tonight Show” and intends to seek a way to end his contract with the network.


The host, who saw his brief run at host of “Tonight” cut short when NBC decided to restore his predecessor Jay Leno to the 11:35 p.m. time period occupied by “Tonight” since the dawn of television, has been growing increasingly upset in recent days about how he believes he was treated by NBC’s management.


A representative of the host said Tuesday that the issue came to a head for Mr. O’Brien on Monday and that he had “sat up all night drafting the statement.” NBC declined comment. Mr. O’Brien was scheduled to do “The Tonight Show” on Tuesday night.


In a statement Tuesday afternoon, Mr. O’Brien said “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.’”


Mr. O’Brien’s comments came two days after NBC formally outlined a plan to move “The Jay Leno Show” to 11:35 p.m. in March, elbowing Mr. O’Brien’s “Tonight Show” back half an hour. Mr. Leno seems supportive of the plan; but in his statement, Mr. O’Brien rejects it outright. The statement reads:


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.






After 16 years making a name with his distinctive brand of intellectually silly comedy on NBC’s “Late Night” show, Mr. O’Brien replaced Mr. Leno as the host of “The Tonight Show” a mere seven months ago. He is just the fifth man to lead ”Tonight,” after Steve Allen, Jack Paar, Johnny Carson and Mr. Leno.


Mr. Leno, meanwhile, moved to prime time in September as the host of “The Jay Leno Show.” But the 10 p.m. experiment was a bust for many NBC affiliates, which have seen the ratings for their late local newscasts plummet.


Amid mounting pressure to scrap the talk show, NBC announced on Sunday that Mr. Leno’s last show at 10 p.m. would be Feb. 11, and indicated that “The Jay Leno Show” would be shown at 11:35 p.m. instead. NBC will begin showing the Winter Olympics the next day, setting the stage for a new schedule on March 1. But the network acknowledged that day that Mr. O’Brien was not yet on board with the move.


Ever since the Leno-to-11:35 move was described in the press last Thursday, people close to Mr. O’Brien have said privately that he was upset with the plan.


Fox has expressed interest in starting a late-night show starring Mr. O’Brien — provided he found a way to extricate himself from his NBC contract.


On Monday Kevin Reilly, the president of Fox Entertainment, strongly endorsed Mr. O’Brien in an interview. “He would be a very compatible fit for our brand,” Mr. Reilly said. “He is one of the few guys on the planet that has demonstrated he can do one of these shows every night.”





As if I couldn't hate Jay Leno any more than I do...

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How does anyone with a decent job watch late night TV?


Being born & raised in Chicago, and now living in AZ the last few years, these shows start at 10:35pm.


I still can't believe every other city gets it at 11:35pm.


Who can watch shows from 11:35pm till 1am?

A: Unemployed people who can't afford what is being advertised on their commercials.


flawed logic.





And moving Leno won't help, he just sucks.

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And yes, fuck Leno. I can't believe what a whiny bitch he is. I've actually been catching his show here and there since he moved to ten-- I can't stand cop and courtroom dramas-- and it's better than CSI, but he doesn't hold a candle to Conan or Letterman. I don't know why NBC seems to be scared of him.



I'd hate to see Conan go to Fox, since Rupert Murdoch is slightly more detestable than Leno... but it would be better than no Conan.

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Who can watch shows from 11:35pm till 1am?

A: Unemployed people who can't afford what is being advertised on their commercials.


flawed logic.


I like the part where you assume that everyone who does well for themselves goes to bed at the same time you do. Come on man.


And to keep step with the thread Leno can eat a dick. It seems like Channel Zero might actually be cohesively agreeing on something for once.

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I like the part where you assume that everyone who does well for themselves goes to bed at the same time you do. Come on man.



You should assume I was speaking of the masses. Hence why the term "9 to 5" exists.

I am well aware people who make good livings don't all work within "normal working hours."


I myself used to be a 2pm to 6am guy in my 20's and made good $ as a self-employed web designer working whenever I felt like it.

I should not need to explain that.


But for 80%ish of America who works 9 to 5(or have kids), I don't see how these shows get ratings.

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