Thursday, January 7, 2010

Conan out, Leno back in at 11:30?

The Leno news keeps coming: is reporting that "sources" at NBC told them that "after the Olympics, Jay will take back his 11:30 PM time slot. What has not been decided -- whether Jay's show will be a half hour, followed by Conan, or whether Jay's show will be an hour and NBC says sayonara to Mr. O'Brien.

"We're told Jay and Conan have both been told of the changes. As for Jay, interestingly, he'll get what he always wanted -- his 11:30 PM time slot."

Edited to add:

At 8:15 PM Eastern time, the New York Times sent out a Breaking News Alert, the kind usually reserved to report important presidential proclamations and terrorist attacks, headlined "NBC Plan Would Move Leno to Late Nights." The Alert points to this story by Bill Carter, which suggests that NBC brass, after "extensive discussions" with Leno and O'Brien, will put Jay back on at 11:35 while bumping Conan to 12:05 PM.

“We remain committed to keeping Conan O’Brien on NBC,” the network said in a statement Thursday evening. “He is a valued part of our late-night line-up, as he has been for more than 16 years and is one of the most respected entertainers on television.”

The switch means that Jimmy Fallon's "Late Night" show will start airing at 1:05 AM and poor Carson Daly, whose show has been in reruns since Dec. 21 and is scheduled to keep airing repeats at least through Jan. 29, won't be seen 'til 2:05.


  1. sprouse said...

    Eep. This is getting scary.

    One one hand, I would like to see Conan keep his spot. NBC obviously invested a lot in bringing Conan and the staff out to LA and were really banking on them to be successful (or more successful than they have been). Despite what I hear a lot of people saying, I do enjoy the new Tonight Show. I'm a big Letterman fan, but I like that I have the option now of choosing between Dave's more zany comedy and Conan's laid-back snark depending on how I'm feeling. I really don't want to see the current structure change.

    However, I can see that the powers that be at NBC would want to work with Leno to keep him on their network in some form. I'm not a huge fan of Leno, but he seems like a nice guy. I don't see why he signed the contract that essentially forced his retirement in 2009 so early and then have second thoughts about it towards the end. I also don't see what NBC would replace him with, unless they move the local news to 10pm and have Jay->Conan->Fallon->Carson, which just seems redundant. I do think that the 10pm show was a big risk and a very bold move programming-wise on NBC's part, but it's obviously not paying off in the way that they had hoped and they're struggling to make it work and appease all parties.

    However this turns out, it's going to get interesting in the upcoming weeks. Thanks for covering all this.

    (Oddly enough, what comes to mind when I think of all of this is that moment on Fallon's first show when he's in the dressing room with Conan and asks Conan about taking over the Tonight Show and getting Jay's dressing room, to which Conan stares at him and deadpans, "Jay isn't leaving".)