A lot of readers have asked my opinion of the Leno-Conan debacle. You mean, besides fire Jeff Zucker? Anyway, here’s what I think:
Jay was stupid five years ago agreeing to surrender THE TONIGHT SHOW. None of this would have happened if he didn’t say, “Hey, fuck you. I’m beating Letterman. Go away. I’ll leave when I’M ready to leave.”
Jeff Zucker has ruined everything hes touched at NBC. Under his stewardship they’ve gone from the number one network to somewhere below OXYGEN. His claim to fame is what, “supersize” episodes of JOEY?
Moving Jay to 10 and putting Conan in THE TONIGHT was the worst television decision in history. There’s nothing else that even comes close.
Making it worse, Zucker makes this bold move and obviously had no Plan B should it fail (despite everyone including people in foreign lands who don’t watch TV predicting it would).
Conan’s public letter was fucking brilliant. It showed conviction and class. Oh, and I agree with him.
Zucker compounded the damage by threatening legal action to keep Conan off the air if he doesn’t fulfill his contract. A) Good luck getting that past a judge, and B) Do you really want to put a guy on the air for an hour a night who doesn’t want to be there? For 3 1/2 years? How does this man keep his job???
This is such a fluid story that it’s hard to predict what will happen. But for my money, I say keep Conan where he is, hosting THE TONIGHT SHOW at 11:30. If he didn’t earn it before, he did this week with that letter. I’m guessing Johnny would be proud.
And Jay unfortunately becomes the odd man out. He’ll wind up at another network, make a gazillion dollars, and do just fine.
And when all the dust settles – Craig Ferguson will be the new king of late night.
That’s how I feel now. Come see me in ten minutes when everything changes.