Conan: I Don't Want to Do Tonight Show at 12:05 - Featured


Conan O'Brien announced Tuesday he doesn't want to do The Tonight Show at 12:05 a.m., throwing his future with the show into doubt. He also says he has no offer on the table from any other network. His statement:


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.


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Jan 12, 2010 5:01PM EST

I agree with Conan. As much as I enjoyed Jay Leno on the Tonight Show, he chose to go off and try something new. It didn't work out. Oh, well. His problem. He took the risk, it didn't work out, and he's the only one who should pay the consequences.

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Jan 12, 2010 6:39PM EST

I like Leno, but Conan is by far the best late-night host. He is definitely in the right here. Leno retired, they passed the tonight show to Conan well before Leno ever stepped down. Then Leno wanted to come back, which is all well and good, but they had Conan give up his successful show and moved him and his writers from New York to Los Angeles based on a six year contract he signed to do the tonight show. To go back on that now and try to take anything away from him is ridiculous. Since the 90s NBC has been routinly making terrible decisions, and letting Conan go will be a huge one. If they let him walk away, not only will they have to pay him a huge buy out from a clause he has in his contract, but he will be off the market for about 6 hours(or pretty much however long it takes the ink to dry on his new Fox, CBS, or ABC contract). There will be a line forming to bid on Conan's services, and then Conan's new show will be in direct competition with Leno, and given the choice between the two, I am watching Conan everytime.

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Jan 13, 2010 3:27PM EST

I would think this whole mess could easily be resolved by what is stipluated in Leno and O'Brien's contracts.

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