NBC Tells Conan To Move Over For Leno

"The Late Night Wars"

For the past 24-hours I have been reading so many different stories relating to The Jay Leno Show and The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien and NBC. After sifting through all the rumors, gossip and alien conspiracies (I told you I read many different stories) I think I finally understand what’s going on and since it’s coming from NBC, I shouldn’t be surprised that it’s another horrible decision.

It appears that The Jay Leno Show’s ratings having been so mediocre that NBC is going to shorten the show to 30min and move Leno back to his previous 11:30PM time slot. Conan (and The Tonight Show) in turn will be pushed back to the midnight to 1AM time slot.

I can tell you that if I was Conan I wouldn’t be happy at all. In fact, I’d be so mad that I probably would have broken my Ecto-1 Hallmark ornament that I have on my desk. And I love my Ecto-1 Hallmark ornament. Good thing NBC brought the horrible decision makers with them to give Conan another option if he’s not up for the whole “bait & switch” routine; leave the network.

For someone that doesn’t really have time to watch Late-night programming, I shouldn’t care… but I do. A lot!

The only problem is that I don’t know who to be more upset with; Jay Leno or NBC. Obviously they’re both to blame, but Leno has been walking around like his “you know what” doesn’t stink for some time and NBC love standing right behind him telling him how wonderful the smell is back there. When will someone at the network finally wake up and realize that Leno, however great they may have thought he once was, has worn out his welcome.

What's that? You sure it's not Top Gear?

Let’s not even get into the whole Johnny Carson wanted David Letterman to take over The Tonight Show and not Jay Leno (which is why after leaving The Tonight Show Carson would only appear on The Late Show with David Letterman), The Jay Leno show is a huge failure. It seemed as if everyone outside of NBC knew it was going to fail in a big bad way and boy did it live up to everyone’s expectations.

Sure, when you look at it from a network point of view, the show somewhat succeeded. The cost of production was significantly less than what a drama would be in that time slot and the ratings weren’t too low in comparison to the price, but when you factored in the local affiliates… that’s when the game changes.

The local affiliates took the major hit. Across the country, ratings were down 30%-40% in local markets and while that’s never a good thing, the fact that The Jay Leno Show was the lead-in to the 11PM news means everything. The 11PM news cast is where the local affiliates receive their highest ratings and make all their money because unlike primetime programming (where they’re allowed to sell a certain number of commercial spots per hour), the affiliates are able to sell all the commercial spots for the 11PM news. Now, with 40% of your audience gone, guess where your all your ad dollars go? Exactly… down the Leno-bowl.

Conan also found out it's not Top Gear.

The problem became so bad that NBC had to do something, but was this the right option? No, not at all. For some reason, NBC treats Leno as some type of savior figure which in turn has completely screwed up their network.

So, what’s going to happen now? I have no idea. Conan can’t be happy about this, but I don’t exactly see him just walking away. He literally relocated his entire show (staff included) to the west coast. Still, he can’t stand for that, but what other option does he have?

In the end, who wins in all this?

Is it the viewers who get to now watch a 30min version of a show they didn’t watch in the first place? Nope.

Is it Conan who specifically had a $40 million clause in his contract so this specific thing wouldn’t happen? Nope.

Is it Jimmy Fallon who people forget is also impacted by all this mess? Nope

So, who wins?

Well, the jury's still out on that one, but what I do know is that a bunch of long-shot bets have just paid off. I should have listened to Vizzini when he said, “Never go in against a Leno when an 11:30PM time slot is on the line!”

…or something like that. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen The Princess Bride.

I’m sure by now you know how I feel, but since I’m the romantic type, I want to know how you feel as well.

Don’t forget to catch the last of the hour-long The Jay Leno Show weeknights at 10PM on NBC and make sure to tune into The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien weeknights at 11:30PM because who knows that’s going to happen.

(Since this is still developing, we’ll continue to update this story as more information is it is released)

Source: The New York Times

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