His future at NBC now in very serious jeopardy
Oh, it's on.
Conan' O Brien rejected NBC's for him to move The Tonight Show he hosts to 11:05 p.m. (12:05 a.m.) Central to make room for a half-hour version of The Jay Leno Show, which is being bumped out of prime-time after the Winter Olympics.
Mr. O'Brien said moving Tonight a half-hour later would damage the tradition of the show, part of a statement he released to the press today (you can read it here.) O'Brien said he's been hosting Tonight for only seven months, and the show hasn't proving itself.
While O'Brien's ratings for Tonight top those of CBS' Late Show with David Letterman among adults 18-34, his numbers are way down overall and in other key demos from what Tonight had in the time period last year when Leno was still hosting.
With O'Brien refusing to give up the 10:35 p.m. time slot to Leno, NBC is now very likely to fire him, or O'Brien quitting the show.
If this happens, O'Brien would probably have his contract paid off, and may head to another network - most likely Fox, since ABC announced at the Winter TCA press tour they have no interest in him or his show. Fox has been out of the weeknight late-night business for some time now, since the failure of The Chevy Chase Show back in 1993 - the same year Conan O'Brien replaced David Letterman as host of Late Night on NBC.
Thus, Jay Leno would return as host of The Tonight Show - in its one-hour format.
Thought: This move NBC is trying to pull is absolutely disgusting. So disgusting in fact, it even tops the shrewd moves Bill Wirtz made when he was the owner of the Chicago Blackhawks in the final years of his life. If NBC throws Conan O'Brien under the bus, its reputation - which is already in the crapper - may take years to recover.
While I understand Conan O'Brien is struggling against Letterman's show, putting Jay Leno back at 10:35 p.m. is totally absurd. His prime-time show was a failure. Even if Leno returns to late-night - hour or half-hour, he won't match the numbers he once did in the time period. And the affiliates' reaction to this news is a bit fawning. Instead of reacting professionally, they come off sounding like a bunch of crazed fanboys at a Battlestar Galactica convention.
And Jerry Seinfeld should shut the heck up. I'd bet be wouldn't be proud of NBC if he didn't have a show (The Marriage Ref) premiering on the network soon. He should be mayor of Chicago - he has the arrogance for it.
This concocted idea late-night idea coming from NBC's executive suites is ridiculous. Everyone involved in this catastrophic mess should be fired - but it's Conan O'Brien who's being let go. The management at NBC is no different from those running the Chicago Bears - it's easy to mistake one management team for the other. So, if Jay Cutler and the offensive screws up next year, does Jeff Zucker get the blame?
Somebody has got to go at NBC - and it should not be Conan O'Brien.