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.
You can tell that the statement was well-thought out and carefully worded. But you also get the sense that Conan isn't happy at all with what has happened. He grew up watching Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show and you can tell that he wanted it not just for the money, but for the tradition, the history, and especially the time slot. He doesn't think that a 12:05 Tonight Show will even really be a Tonight Show. He even uses the word "destruction" when talking about what NBC is doing to their late night lineup and The Tonight Show.
He doesn't have another offer, but it looks like he's gone if they can't come to some agreement. Then the last year will be like Bobby Ewing in the shower. It never happened, and Jay will be back at 11:35.
(Update: NBC told the bevy of reporters in Pasadena that tonight, Conan will host a new episode of The Tonight Show. So for those of you who were rooting for The Tonight Show with Andy Richter, you'll have to keep waiting.)
This is a good way to waste an hour at work today.
TMZ has a new game at their site, The TMZ Contract Game with Conan O'Brien. It's actually a pretty simple game. You're Conan O'Brien, and you have to keep trying to grab the NBC contract before Jay Leno's head hits you (if you get hit, the game's over). Be careful. It's not just one Leno head that is gunning for you, they keep growing in number the more contracts you manage to get.
My top score so far is 1134.
[via The Live Feed]
Chevy Chase, star of NBC's Community and former star of the late night titanic The Chevy Chase Show on Fox, told The Toronto Sun's Bill Harris at the Television Critics Association press tour that he felt Tonight Show host Conan O'Brien has gotten the short end of the ugly stick, now that Jay Leno has wormed his way back into his old time slot.
He attributed the move to NBC's long standing relationship with Jay and thinks Conan and company will bail ship and head to Fox because, "I think he's too good for The Tonight Show in terms of intellect, and maybe too bad for it because of that, too."
"It was all my fault because I wore the tuxedo (on Jay's first show)," he joked. But then he got serious and actually had a bit of praise for NBC. He equated the move to bring Jay to 10 PM to the AOL/Time Warner deal, of all things. "It wasn't a terrible deal. The timing was bad. If you substitute 'Google' for 'AOL' now, you'd be in favor of the deal. (Leno at 10) is the right idea at the wrong time. I applaud NBC for trying something so original."
However, they're still in discussions with the hosts about this. Gaspin hopes to get the situation settled by the start of the Olympics.
More after the jump.
The Tonight Show host addressed the rumors surrounding his show last night. I'm sure you'll be happy to know that neither he nor Leno will have to take any last minute maternity leave.
Just minutes after announcing that Conan O'Brien would not be pushed out to save Jay Leno's show comes word of NBC's new unofficial/official plan for saving their late night lineup.
Bill Carter of the New York Times reports that NBC wants to push Leno back by one hour, taking Leno out of prime time and putting him back in late night to save face with their affiliates. Leno's show would also be a half-hour shorter so O'Brien and Jimmy Fallon will each still have an hour long show.
Leno himself jokes about the day's drama on his show tonight. Watch a preview on the show's website.
NBC just released a statement that whatever decision they make regarding Leno's show, they are sticking with Conan O'Brien.
Of course, that doesn't mean they won't make him move back to Late Night or out of The Tonight Show spot to make room for Leno. What do you think the NBC executives will do with Leno or O'Brien, other than pray to Pan, the goat god worshiped by all of the corporate elite?
Well, that's sort of what they're saying. NBC says that Leno is "performing exactly as anticipated."* The network also says that "both Jay and the show are committed to working closely with [the affiliates] to improve the performance." Though I think most of the affiliates are probably saying "please get rid of the show."
More of our best of the decade coverage, which started on Tuesday. You can read the other posts at the link above. Here, we talk about a very aught-like phenomenon: the cult of celebrity.
There is no clearer metaphor for the concept of being a celebrity than the Hollywood Walk of Fame. You work hard to chase your dream and achieve a career for yourself by making your name known to the masses of the universe.
Then when you've grabbed that star and become a regular fixture in the flash bulb of the press' cameras, how does the public honor your tireless toil and efforts? They throw you down on a sidewalk and walk all over you.
In the Aughts, however, a new celebrity oozed out of the primordial muck. A celebrity that still suffered the slings and arrows of the tabloid press and a complete loss of the right to privacy, but achieved their stardom by simply cutting out all that pesky hard work and tireless effort nonsense. These are the celebrities who became famous by simply because they were famous.
It looks like NBC had three problems kicking around their heads. First up was what to do about Jay Leno. They'd already promised his gig on The Tonight Show to Late Night host Conan O'Brien back in 2004, and yet Leno remained doggedly at number one in the late night ratings war. "What if he defects to ABC and takes his sizable audience with him?" they worried.
- MTV and VH1 to play music videos. I'm from the MTV generation, which means I have no problem sitting around watching music videos for hours and hours. I love music. I love videos. The music industry would probably appreciate it, too. I don't like feeling like I need to take a shower while watching any one of their trashy reality shows.
- Lost to blow us all away with a SATISFYING conclusion. No fade to black, no comas, no Bob Newhart waking up next to his wife. Make it work and make it make sense. If you do that, you'll have one of the greatest shows in television history. So, no pressure guys.
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