Conan O'Brien Is Moving On
Tuesday, January 12, 2010 | Author: Mad Typist
In today's "Good for you, Big Red!" news, apparently, Conan O'Brien has rejected NBC's offer to give up his time slot so that they can continue to assault us with the "comedic" stylings of Jay Leno. I'll copy-pasta Conan's statement below, but here's my thought: maybe this isn't the worst thing that could happen.

Yes, I know Conan's life was disrupted for over a year while NBC strung him along with promises of the coveted Tonight Show job, and yeah, I know it sucks to uproot your whole crew and family to move to horrible Los Angeles. On the other hand, I always thought Conan was sort of a bizarre choice for the Tonight Show gig. The Tonight Show always felt too mainstream to me to contain Conan's particular style of soaring eccentric genius.

I'm not a fan of Jay Leno myself, but apparently lots of people are. And the kind of people who liked Leno's easy-going schtick are probably not the kind of people who are going to receptive to skits involving characters like Triumph the Comic Dog and The Masturbating Bear.

I think that Conan would be a much better fit on a more edgy mainstream network like Fox, that will give him room to be as strange as he likes. I'd also love to see what an uncensored late night show from Conan would look like on a network like Comedy Central, FX or even HBO.

The full text of Conan's statement here (also, read Alan Sepinwall's excellent article about this):
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 primetime 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.


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On 9:59 AM , Michael said...

I’ve never cared for Leno, even when he first took over the Tonight Show. At the time I liked Letterman and would have probably watched Conan on a regular basis had it not been on so late here in Central Illinois. There were a few evenings when I would be up late enough to catch Conan and I always enjoyed his show much more than Letterman or Leno.

When Conan got the Tonight Show gig I was pretty happy, primarily due to the time slot. I caught parts of Leno’s new show a few times and wondered why NBC still allowed him to be on the air as I didn’t find it funny at all.

I think NBC is making a huge mistake by moving Jay and most likely loosing Conan.