from warmingglow.Wow. I’d heard rumors, but… just wow. Although NBC is denying it, TMZ says:
Jay Leno is going back to his 11:30 PM time slot, and it’s looking like Conan O’Brien is the odd man out … sources tell TMZ. We’ve learned Jay’s 10:00 PM show will go on hiatus February 1. 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.
Just to recap: NBC promised “The Tonight Show” to Conan in 2004, and Leno agreed to step down when the time came. Except when the time came, Leno said he wanted to stay on the air, hence “The Jay Leno Show” at 10 o’clock, which quickly became one of the greatest programming f*ck-ups in network history. As Leno’s unwatched show was torpedoing viewership of NBC local news and the new “Tonight Show,” he openly lobbied to get his 11:30 slot back.Gosh, what an awesome guy. If he’s not too busy during the Olympics, maybe he’d like to come over and get my sister pregnant, wait six months, then punch her in the stomach until she miscarries.ANDAll right, so since the Leno-Conan rumor/bomb yesterday, we’ve got some things that seem certain and some likely possibilities. Here’s what’s certain: Jay Leno is moving back to the 11:30 slot. What NBC wants to do is have “The Jay Leno Show” on for half an hour, then have Conan’s “Tonight Show” at midnight and Jimmy Fallon’s “Late Night” at 1:00 a.m. Whether or not that happens apparently depends on if O’Brien decides to accept this fate.
O’Brien’s handlers are likely mulling all of their options — and pitching their client to both Fox, which currently doesn’t have a late night franchise on the weeknights, and ABC, which would have to move “Nightline” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live” out of the way. But neither network appears immediately likely to make a play for O’Brien, insiders said. What’s more, Broadcasting and Cable reported that NBC has the option to bench O’Brien for the remainder of his contract but keep paying him. [Variety]
If Conan bolts, of course, you-know-who gets “The Tonight Show” back. Frankly, I’ve already reached the acceptance phase. NBC’s decision to put Leno at 10:00 was so epically disastrous that they HAD to get rid of Jay at that time slot, and while I would have preferred the network loosen the brakes on Leno’s fleet of cars, I can see how moving him to 11:30 makes more business sense.As for Conan, I’ll continue to be a fan no matter what happens. Perhaps a move to midnight will open the door for more of the offbeat antics that he had to abandon when he moved to L.A., although leaving NBC would probably be more cathartic — for both O’Brien and his fans.The bottom line is this: when TV-related stories start getting this complex and heated and I no longer have the ability to turn the conversation to a quick joke, that’s the moment I say, “It’s just TV.” I’d rather spend my worries on actual problems in the world. Things like war and the environment and what happens if TLC runs out of midgets.