Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Wednesday, January 13, 2021

super conan land
Well, that didn’t take long. Less than a week after NBC announced its salvage plans to move Jay Leno back to 11:35, Conan O’Brien announced that he’s extracting himself from the network’s resultant late-night traffic jam:

Mr. O’Brien’s statement Tuesday said that he so respected the institution of “The Tonight Show” that he could not participate in what “I honestly believe is its destruction.”…

The statement also took NBC to task for not giving the show more time or supplying stronger lead-in audiences, which could be interpreted as a shot at Mr. Leno’s poor performance at 10 p.m. (Though Mr. O’Brien mentioned Johnny Carson, David Letterman and Jimmy Fallon in his statement, he never referred to Mr. Leno by name, only by the title of his show.)

“After only seven months,” Mr. O’Brien wrote, “with my ‘Tonight Show’ in its infancy, NBC has decided to react to their terrible difficulties in prime time by making a change in their long-established late-night schedule.”

So NBC basically gets its wish: Leno back as “Tonight Show” host for the full hour, followed by Jimmy Fallon and Carson Daly (like either of those two matter). Conan will eventually get a new show with FOX. Letterman will have on-air gloating material for months to come. And Leno gets back to his old digs, which is what he wanted all along (so color him complicit in pushing out Conan).

I personally like Conan’s comedic sensibilities, but I’ll point out that none of this would have happened had he not tanked in the ratings versus Letterman. Even during the last couple of years of his “Late Night” run, O’Brien really seemed to be drifting in his output. Maybe this shock to the system will rejuvinate him, in whatever direction he chooses to go.

As for NBC: This would be their second failure at handling a talent overload in their late-night roster, going back to the Leno-Letterman battle to succeed Johnny Carson. In the future — assuming there is one for them — they should just bite the bullet and let the also-ran jump ship early, and avoid the longer-term headaches.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 01/13/2010 08:08am
Category: Business, Celebrity, TV
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  1. TEAM COCO, NO-MO…

    It’s the end of an era — or the end of an error, depending on your outlook. “The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien” breathes its last breath tonight, bringing a close to a messy divorce between O’Brien and NBC over the…

    Trackback by Population Statistic — 01/22/2010 @ 6:25 PM

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