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August 30, 2014

Amid the 'Jay Leno' Shake-Up, What Becomes of Carson Daly?

by Gary Susman, posted Jan 11th 2010 1:00PM
So, let's see, if NBC moves Jay Leno to 11:35PM, pushes Conan O'Brien back to 12:05AM, and moves Jimmy Fallon to 1:05AM, where does that leave Carson Daly?

Probably out in the cold. NBC hasn't yet said what would happen to 'Last Call with Carson Daly' if its proposed late-night shakeup goes through as planned. The network says it hopes to keep Daly on NBC (just as it hopes to keep Leno, O'Brien, and Fallon), but Daly's wee-hours chat show, which has aired at 1:35AM for the past eight years, seems doomed.

For more coverage on Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien and NBC, visit PopEater.

The problem for Daly is that the airtime after 2AM belongs to the local NBC affiliates, who would be under no obligation to carry a delayed 'Last Call.' At a press conference on Sunday at the winter TV Critics Association confab,NBC Universal Chairman of Entertainment Jeff Gaspin said he hoped more schedule shuffling could be done to keep Daly at NBC.

"There can be some rejiggering," Gaspin said, according to iFMagazine.com. As for Daly's future with the network, Gaspin said, "I don't know and I don't want to see him go anywhere else. Carson is going to be part of NBC, regardless of what happens. He had an incredibly high rated New Year's show this year. I hope and expect we will be in the Carson Daly business, but I don't have any more to add at the moment."

Still, beyond his annual New Year's Eve music show and the occasional primetime entertainment special (would NBC have him patrolling the red carpet at the Golden Globes, perhaps?), it doesn't seem like NBC would have much room for the 36-year-old host if 'Last Call' is scrapped.

The snub would be only the latest NBC has delivered to Daly. The network hired the host for his youth appeal and for having a finger on the pulse of pop culture, attributes credited to him during his long tenure as host of MTV's 'TRL.' His late-late-late-night talk show, following O'Brien's, launched in January 2002. But when NBC named O'Brien as Leno's 'Tonight Show' heir apparent in 2004, it said nothing about whether it was grooming Daly to take Conan's place once Conan took over from Jay in 2009. In fact, NBC passed over Daly and announced in 2008 it would give O'Brien's show to the untried Fallon, leaving Daly in the graveyard shift at 'Last Call.' Now, in the lastest game of late-night musical desk chairs, Daly looks to be the only one left without a seat.

For his part, Daly has kept mostly mum about the current situation, though he did make fun of his plight in a surprise appearance Thursday night on rival network ABC's 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' (see video below).

Carson Daly on 'Jimmy Kimmel Live'

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