Conan Chimes In...
The "Tonight Show" host says he can not participate in destroying the franchise
Now, after indulging in some light on-air ribbing, O'Brien has finally decided to publicly decry the decision, clearly in hopes that NBC will step back and reassess the situation as rumors continue to swirl of a FOX bid to steal away the comedian.
Here's his ever-so-eloquent statement on the subject:
"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 prime-time 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."
Conan cries foul -- and we could hardly disagree with him. What's your take on Late Night Gate? Would you stay up past midnight to tune in to the not-really "Tonight Show"?
No love lost for O'Brian just another foreigner.Slamming our President ,and taking our money .And he isn't funny
Conan is a better choice than Jimmy Fallon by far and I can't stand Letterman, he lost his pazazz in the 1980's----- so I ask NBC--- What are you all doing????????????????
Do NOT mess things up, leave Leno where he is and I am sure that things will fall into place, Who is running that place over there anyway- do you not know you have a more sophisticated audience than you did even 10 years ago and we are sick of stuoid shows like The Biggest Loser etc.. we are sick of unintelligent cr_p! I wonder why I gravitate toward shows like Lost , NCIS, Bones, its because you keep putting out drivel and the same old stuff for the oast 20 years, WAKE UP. WE LIKE LENO AND CONAN WHERE THEY ARE. LENO IS great WHERE he is and you at NBC are getting a reputation. Do THE RIGHT THING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Whooooray! Could never see why in the world Conan was ever a choice to host a show in the first place. He is not what we need to have on t.v. even if it is on late night. Naw. Naw. Naw. Hey Hey Hey Goooooooodbye!!!
As we move into a social environment characterized by more and more uncertainty, it is humorous to see television comedians having to deal with it publically. O'Brien's argument is that moving the Tonight Show to another time slot would essentially terminate it. Defendng tradition is a noble thing; however, tradition doesn't count for much anymore.
All of our traditional institutions have gone through considerable transformations in the last one hundred years so that we barely recognize them. Is is almost humorous to think about "television tradition" considering its relatively short history in the scope of things.
Television companies like any other businesses are about the bottom line and tradition is the last thing on their minds. Global companies could care less about the impact that their decisions have on the fabric of American culture and its economy. When you get down to it, who really cares if the Tonight Show fades into obscurity? It is a small fish in a very large pond. The bigger issue is the large scale uncertainty that all of us are dealing with on an every day basis. Welcome to the postmodern era Conan!