There is so much crap going around about the Tonight Show wars between Conan O’Brien, Jay & NBC. Such good writers have weighed in on this, that I can’t really add much – but I do want to say this: I’m on Team Conan all the way.
If there’s something I can’t stand, it’s poor performance being rewarded – and with that I don’t understand why NBC thinks how rewarding Jay Leno’s slumping ratings by moving him back into the Tonight Show is a good idea. This just goes to prove that the heads at NBC have no patience, react in nothing but knee-jerks, and are just heartless with the wrong people.
NBC set Conan up to fail from the beginning, by brining in another LA-based show (Leno’s) to compete for guest talent. By giving an outlet to Leno fans in denial, NBC encouraged these people to stop watching the Tonight Show. I understand they didn’t want to risk Leno going across the street to ABC or Fox, but they could have set up Jay to do some relief pitching when the Tonight Show is in reruns with a similar comedy show, or even allow Jay to do some periodical specials (like the weeknight SNL’s). Instead they set up Conan for failure, then stab him in the back on his way out.
I’ve definitely been watching the coverage over the last few days and I did want to share a few gems from this week:
First you have to see Jimmy Kimmel appearing on Jay Leno’s show Thursday night. For Jimmy to say what he said to Jay’s face – I have the utmost respect for Kimmel and when I start boycotting Jay’s Tonight Show, I’m turning the channel to ABC now.
Check out this article from the New York Times in 1992, when Jay Leno had the same thing happen to him. If you changed the names from “Letterman” to “Leno” and “Leno” to “Conan” you’d swear this was written last week. This just goes to show what a hypocrite Leno is.
Of course you can’t miss Conan’s original statement from Tuesday, which is seriously the must classy punch-in-the-face one could give.
This is all Jeff Zucker’s fault, and Maureen Dowd of the New York Times does a prefect job explaining why. How this debacle does not result in his firing is beyond me. Under Zucker’s leadership, this network has been run into the ground. This goes back to them not having any patience, resulting in the cancellation of many great shows like Studio 60 and Journeyman that likely would have developed into worth successors of NBC’s drama cornerstones like West Wing and ER. Let’s be frank: how many Law & Orders can you gravy train off of?
And it wouldn’t be a pop-culture moment if you didn’t have a Downfall parody: