TMZ is reporting some news which is sure to anger and break the hearts of all Conan O’Brien fans out there. According to their sources, NBC plans to move Jay Leno back to his 11:30 PM time slot after the show takes a hiatus during the Olympics. This now leaves The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien in an undecided future. As of right now, it’s still not clear if The Jay Leno Show will air right before a later showing of The Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien, or if NBC is just going to drop Conan all together and give Jay his old time and show back. Either way, this is definitely not good news for Conan.
To read what NBC has to say about all of this along with my feelings on the subject, hit the jump.
I’ve been a huge fan of Conan O’Brien for years now and this news really does bum me out. I think anyone who was a fan of Late Night With Conan O’Brien can admit that a lot of the surreal insanity which made Late Night so much fun has gone away (I miss you cactus chef who plays “We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel on the flute) ever since Conzie moved to L.A. and took over The Tonight Show. Plus, seeing him in front of a large crowd in a new giant studio still continues to feel weird.
Having said that, Conan is still a hundred times better than Jay Leno. This is clearly noticeable if you’ve ever had the displeasure of sitting down and torturing yourself by watching a full episode of The Jay Leno Show. It’s pretty easy to assume that NBC is making this decision because Conan’s rating are not as big as they want them to be, but neither are Jay’s, which makes this whole plan weird and confusing to me.
NBC has issued this statement about this whole affair:
“Jay Leno is one of the most compelling entertainers in the world today. As we have said all along, Jay’s show has performed exactly as we anticipated on the network. It has, however, presented some issues for our affiliates. Both Jay and the show are committed to working closely with them to find ways to improve the performance.”
“One of the most compelling entertainers in the world”? Really? What confuses me even more than that statement is all of this love that NBC continues to have towards Jay. I don’t get why all of these reports that I’ve read ever since Jay’s show started that keep mentioning how Conan’s future is questionable, but never mention firing Jay and then focusing all of their attention and money on making The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien more of a ratings hit. It also seems that everyone, especially NBC, has forgotten that even Jay’s version of the The Tonight Show took a couple of years before it caught on.
I just hope that this somehow all works out for the better with Conan. He’s had a rough time ever since he took over for Jay and I just hope he somehow wins in the end.
UPDATE: Leno did a bit on this rumor in his show. Like most of Leno’s material, it’s set-up, punchline, viewer at home doesn’t laugh. Check out the video below: