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The Tonight Show host

The conflict at NBC over which late night shows would fill which timeslots.

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The Tonight Show Soon To Be Renamed The Midnight Show?

  • Jan 13, 2010

When I heard about NBC's decision to try to move Conan back to 12:05am so that Jay Leno could take advantage of an 11:35p timeslot to get more ratings, I was a little taken aback. Since when did a studio cowtow to a talent, even if they're Jay Leno? I think it's incredibly unfair to Conan that NBC is trying to push him back to 12:05am.

In his statement (included below), he states that The Tonight Show would no longer be The Tonight Show, it'd be what? The Midnight Show? He also brings up the point that this affects far more people than just him. I, personally, am proud of Conan for sticking to his guns and standing up against NBC. I hope that another studio jumps on this opportunity FAST. As of the release of this review, there hasn't been any studios offering to steal Conan away.

Here's Conan's statement:
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.



NBC and Jay Leno need to borrow a couple quarters and buy a clue- Jay, I'm sorry, if you couldn't make it at your new timeslot, you're not going to make it at 11:35p. NBC, stop cowtowing to talent, you're a studio for Christ's sake. This whole conversation hasn't served Jay well as there are a lot more people that enjoy The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien than with Jay Leno- sorry, but, sometimes the truth hurts. Hopefully, NBC keeps The Tonight Show as it is and doesn't rename it The Midnight Show and screw itself out of much needed ratings.

The Tonight Show Soon To Be Renamed The Midnight Show?

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November 22, 2010
Great post Samantha -- I was oblivious to what was going on with all that; I have not seen either show forever, but I have to say I admire Conan's statement. He sure sounds like a fair minded true person who will stand up for his convictions -- great stuff there!!
November 23, 2010
Thanks Brenda!
February 01, 2010
Viva la Conan! =D
February 07, 2010
Woot woot!
January 22, 2010
Hey love!  I don't know if you want to move your review or not, but I just wanted to let you know that I created a new data point for the 2010 Tonight Show Host & Timeslot Conflict!
January 23, 2010
Sure! Thanks!
January 15, 2010
Although I completely agree that Conan hasn't been given a fair chance and that Leno should step aside instead of trying to turn back time, the comments in the following link are spot on. ESPECIALLY the second to last paragraph. http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/2010/01/13/130-conan-obrien/
January 15, 2010
LOL...this is true. I like the don't ever say that you prefer Leno or you'll be met with blank stares as white people think you have the same humor as the wrong kind of white people, or worse, their parents. Thanks for the link!
January 13, 2010
I think the retooled product for Conan is slated to be called "The Later Tonight Show." I could be wrong.
January 14, 2010
LOL...I was just playing with words ;p
January 13, 2010
I don't get why NBC is catering to Leno so much over Conan.  I guess they see it as some sort of compromise for the two?  I've never watched Conan host The Tonight Show, but I've dug his other schticks and definitely prefer him over Leno, and aside from that, as he pointed out, The Tonight Show has aired during that timeslot for decades, so why change it now?  Great review, lady!  And Team Conan! :)
January 14, 2010
I don't know why either, it's baffling! He's a much better host than Leno who's been in the game a little too long. Thanks lovie!
January 13, 2010
What's baffling here is that there's almost never anything on TV in the 500 channels I have, so how there can be an argument about a one hour time period on one channel is beyond me! I have tix to Conan's Show next month...
January 14, 2010
LOL...hopefully, it's still his show ;p
January 13, 2010
Team Conan! I can't wait to see if this story develops more. Great review.
January 14, 2010
Me too! Hopefully, it all works out and NBC gets a clue!
January 13, 2010
Great review. My sentiments exactly!
January 14, 2010
Thanks, Michael!
January 13, 2010
Nicely put, Sam, nicely put. Can't add anything more...
January 14, 2010
Thanks lovie!
1 2 Next
More 2010 Tonight Show Host & Times... reviews
review by . July 02, 2010
It has been many months since the executives at NBC made the terrible decision of removing Conan O'Brien from The Tonight Show.  Even though he was paid 30 million dollars or so just to leave the network, I always felt sorry for the way that Conan had been used by the peacock after he gave them over a decade and a half's worth of original late night programming. However, there is one other person in this whole disaster that became the target of everyone's fury and his name …
review by . January 22, 2010
   If you have been listening to entertainment news recently, you are probably aware that changes for Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien just didn't work out. Primarily because each were getting low ratings for their respective shows. Let me point out that the reason a show gets low ratings is because the writing on the show just isn't that good. Even someone like myself who thinks these two are nice guys, is not going to watch them tell bad jokes and do stupid skits night after night. Now it …
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Samantha ()
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On January 7, 2010, multiple media outlets reported that Jay Leno, former host of The Tonight Show, would move from his 10pm weeknight time slot on NBC to 11:35pm beginning March 1, 2010. The scheduling change was attributed to poor ratings from Leno's The Jay Leno Show and current host Conan O'Brien's version of The Tonight Show, and resultant pressure from NBC affiliates and NBC Universal chief Jeff Zucker. The proposed change would have bumped The Tonight Show up to 12:05am, giving Leno the 11:35pm slot for his own show. The Tonight Show has held a time slot of approximately 11:30pm for nearly 60 years, dating back to the early tenure of Steve Allen.

Shortly thereafter, O'Brien indicated that he would quit his show and leave the network if NBC were to implement their proposal, citing the "destruction" of the venerable franchise. This led to a large show of support for O'Brien from various celebrities, fellow late night talk show hosts, and a growing number of supporters online on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook.

O'Brien's departure was officially confirmed by NBC on January 21 after nearly two weeks of negotiations; his final show will air Friday, January 22, and he along with his staff will receive a total of $45 million to walk away from the network. The controversy surrounding the scheduling move has been noted by multiple news outlets as "embarrassing" for the network and a "public relations disaster," with many feeling...
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