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Late-night rumors: Guest hosts for Conan and a Leno return to The Tonight Show?

by Joel Keller, posted Jan 12th 2010 7:45PM
Conan O'BrienAfter Conan O'Brien let loose his "hell no, I won't go (to 12:05)" statement earlier today, the rumors have been flying around the Twitterwebs about what NBC's next move is.

NBC did confirm after the statement was released that tonight's edition of The Tonight Show is going to go off as scheduled, a new episode with Conan as host. But, according to Joe Adalian of TheWrap.com, a rumor is floating around that NBC is already trying to line up guest hosts to replace Conan. So how in the world could Conan host a new episode tonight if his network is already looking to replace him?

(Update: Adalian's sources at the network tell him that this is untrue. No official denial yet, though.)

And that's not all. TMZ is reporting that NBC is already negotiating with Jay Leno to restore him as host of The Tonight Show if Conan has to be let go because of this standoff. It goes on to say that Conan would sign a deal with FOX to host a show at 11 PM.

It's been a crazy few days, and this is just making things crazier. Stay tuned.

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Just the Facts

NBC is just lame.

If it weren't for Chuck, Community and The Office I would quit watching them completely.

Now is the time for ABC to drop Niteline and move Kimmel to 11:30 to take advantage of the confusion.

January 14 2010 at 6:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

NBC is a joke. Why can't they just say "good riddance" to Jay? They definitely let the door hit Letterman's ass on the way out in 1992.

Leno + Conan + Jimmy + Carson = Too Much Late Night

Get rid of someone already!

January 13 2010 at 6:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't get it. NBC wanted a show for Jay. But Jay didn't want to host a late night show. NBC wanted to bring Top Gear to America, but they had crap hosts. So then there's this big name gearhead comedian that free(Leno) and they can't figure out anything better than another late night show.

I'm sure Jay would have more fun doing a Top Gear show in the US and he could still do the odd celebrity interview. Get your head out of your respective asses Leno and NBC. Do Top Gear America and let Conan do his thing.

January 13 2010 at 2:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Holy fuck Jay "The Chin" Leno is the biggest piece of shit I've ever seen. HE QUIT the Tonight Show. He retired. But because NBC sucks and because The Chin can't stay away from TV, he took the 10pm hour away from what could have been a good scripted program, or an equally as worthless reality show. Either way, to even consider being part of a move that would screw Conan and hurt the Tonight Show by pushing it back shows what a piece of crap Leno really is. He's a narcissistic homunculus and he should go screw himself.

And someone should drag Jeff Zucker out into the street and beat the shit out of him. I mean, this guy has already ruined NBC. Why is anyone there still listening to him?

January 12 2010 at 11:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to bruce's comment

Jay said that he was as much as "fired" by NBC, that they told him he was leaving the 11:30 slot so that Conan could take over. Jay knew 10pm wouldn't work out. Jay is not the bad guy here. Conan acted like a spoiled brat. His ratings weren't that good at 12:35 and they weren't good at 11:35. What did he think would happen if these 2 shows didn't work out. Shame on NBC if they didn't spell it out for him, but he is pathetic.

January 20 2010 at 12:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jax Maxton

Here's an interesting thought. If Conan goes to 11PM, his biggest competition won't be local new, but John Stewart, right? I would say these shows have similar demos and between the 2 of them would pull those demos away from an 11:30 Leno and Letterman. The new late night fight might become Conan vs. Stewart and Colbert.

January 12 2010 at 9:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jax Maxton's comment

Seems you're a little late to the game on that call. :)


January 12 2010 at 10:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I thought it was a mistake for NBC to have The Jay Leno show at 10pm (and mad that they cancelled Southland since they had no place to put it), but I actually liked watching Jay at 10pm. I know he's not hip and people in my demographic probably think he's too old-folks for them, but then again, I think people in my demo are probably watching Jon Stewart and Stephan Colbert and not anything on NBC anyway.

I've tried watching Conan but his brand of humor just doesn't do much for me. It's a bit like SNL vs MadTV. MadTV was always a bit more over the top. Conan's show is like that. I guess that means FOX would be a good choice but I'm not going to watch him regardless of what station he's on. I wouldn't go as far as to say I would rather watch David Letterman than Conan because I don't like the two of them equally.

But to each their own... if NBC restores Jay as the host of The Tonight Show, Conan may get paid lots of money for doing nothing, but I think that as an entertainer/performer - getting to show your craft is probably a bit more important than money (that is, not being allowed to perform but still making money).

January 12 2010 at 9:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Susan Savino

I still maintain that Conan is funnier, and will be more successful than Jay Leno ever has been. If this occurs, not only will I stop watching NBC, but I am sure that there will be more people will begin watching another channel, or turning off their TV's, because Jay speaks "down" to his audience and is totally boring.

January 12 2010 at 9:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Conan is dangerous at 11.

Here's the thing, a lot of people didn't think Conan's brand of humor could work at 11:35. Many still don't.

Many people don't think his style fits with the classic Tonight Show audience.

If Conan jumps to Fox, he'll be liberated. Sure, he's wanted the Tonight Show, just like Letterman did, to extend IT, to continue IT... But just like Letterman, Conan isn't going to have THE TONIGHT SHOW. As such, it could be the best thing for him.... I think it was for Letterman. Can you actually imagine the Tonight Show with David Letterman? Truthfully, I just don't think it fits... and I don't really think it fits for Conan.

So, although Conan has been struggling to maintain Leno's ratings, he's been trying to maintain the ratings of a show that isn't fundamentally his and never will be...

Thus, when he goes to Fox, he'll be free... In Late Night you could feel the homage and reverence for Letterman. In the Tonight Show you can feel his reverence for Carson and Leno before him... But what does an unfettered Conan look like? Possibly better than any of them.

We shall see.

January 12 2010 at 8:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Mike's comment

You know you make alot of sense as much as I am angry at NBC and still am for betraying one of the best comedians of our time, something good may come of this. Maybe somewhere down the road 10 years from now we will look on these turn of events and say that that was the best thing to happen to Conan.

January 12 2010 at 9:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm not saying the earthquake in Haiti was a good thing, but at least it might push all the NBC drama back to newspaper Style/TV/Entertainment sections, instead of the Front Page.

January 12 2010 at 8:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You know, I didn't like the whole "Jay @ 10" idea (and would have loathed it outright if it resulted in the cancelation of Chuck) but man, I don't think anyone (I know I didn't) expected it to crash, burn, and cause as much death and destruction as it has. If anyone didn't think NBC was dumb in the past, their failure at the Leno Show experiment, their canceling of 10PM worthy dramas, and their blatant mistreatment of Conan and The Tonight Show should make it obvious.

January 12 2010 at 8:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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