Friday, January 8, 2010

NBC to Conan: Move your show to midnight, or get off our network!

According to, NBC has given Conan O'Brien an ultimatum -- move to the midnight-1 AM time slot, or go away. "Our sources say Conan has not decided what he wants," says TMZ. "We do know he's pissed, because he was given no advanced warning this was coming... We're told if Conan gets another offer, even though NBC could block the move, they will let him go and give Leno the full hour."

OK, this is officially getting ridiculous. I feel bad for Conan -- I'm not the biggest O'Brien fan, but he deserves better (as do all of his loyal staff members who uprooted themselves from New York to Los Angeles last year). And after this 10 PM debacle, the Leno "brand" seems pretty badly damaged. If Conan walks, would Jay really be able to slip right back into his old "Tonight" format and start beating Dave in the ratings again? And what on earth is NBC going to put on at 10 in place of "The Jay Leno Show"?

This is truly one of those situations where there is no good solution. It's conceivable that O'Brien could decide to leave NBC -- and who could blame him if he did? It's like 1994 all over again (during his early days on "Late Night," NBC kept Conan on extremely short-term contracts -- generally 13 weeks long -- since they had so little confidence in him). If so, that could be bad news for "Nightline" and Jimmy Kimmel, if ABC decides to court him. (Presumably ABC would keep Kimmel but move his show to 12:35 AM.) Or he could wind up on FOX, which might decide to build a late night franchise around him. At least that would mean he'd be on at 11 PM.


  1. Anonymous said...

    This is all NBC's fault for their dumbassed move to keep Leno. They should have just given Conan the Tonight Show and said "so long" to Leno once and for all. They wouldnt be in this messed up situation if they had done that from the start.

    It would be SO great if BOTH Conan and Leno would jump to other networks, and leave NBC with their thumb up their stupid asses, wondering what to do. ("The Tonight Show" with Jimmy Fallon, would be so laughable, haha).