The plan hatched by NBC was perfect: move Jay Leno back to his old 10:35 p.m. (Central) time slot, push Conan O’Brien and “The Tonight Show” back to 11:05 p.m., and follow with Jimmy Fallon at five after midnight.

Perfect except for one thing – Leno and NBC are breaking promises made to O’Brien, and so he told them to take the time-slot switch and shove it.

Random thought alert: Most people credit Johnny Paycheck with writing “Take This Job And Shove It.” But David Allan Coe authored the song. Here he’s playing it at Billy Bob’s Texas:


Anyhoo, O’Brien’s statement — addressed to “people of Earth” — said he’s holding NBC to their contract. In a slap at Leno, he said “The Tonight Show” has lacked ratings support “from the primetime schedule,” and later he refers to NBC’s “terrible difficulties in primetime.”

In other words, O’Brien is partially blaming his poor ratings on Leno’s poor ratings.

Who can blame him? Everybody is blaming Leno’s poor ratings. NBC is canceling his show to satisfy unhappy stations across the country who say their viewers are complaining.

But Leno wants to keep his big shiny chin in the spotlight and is willing to stab O’Brien in the heart rather than bow out gracefully.

O’Brien’s statement ends in typical funnyman fashion: “Have a great day and, for the record, I am truly sorry about my hair; it’s always been that way.”

Sure, O’Brien is laughing off the pain. But he has his demons as evidenced in this heartbreaking clip:


  1. Conan has a big ego…..His show does not match with Letterman. I dont watch his show at all. In six month time, you should know if you can compete effectively with your competition and he has not shown it.

    I say bring back Leno and let Conan go.

  2. Conan is the funniest and most original of all late night hosts. He was barely given a chance to prove himself at The Tonight Show before the spectre of “The Chin” reemerged, and he had the rug pulled out from under him.

    He’ll be back with another network, more time to work with, more creative latitude, and will be better than ever.

  3. Conan was right in his decision to not accept the time slot change. Leno is not funny, and will not do well back at 10:35. Letterman will continue to do well and if/when Conan moves to Fox and takes the 10:35 time slot, he will do well because my generation will support him wherever he is.

  4. I think that Rosie O’Donnell put it best when she said that Leno is “bullying his way back into college so he can be the quarterback again.” The legacy of “The Tonight Show” has been sullied by this mess. Conan O’Brien deserved the same opportunity that Leno received when Letterman was trouncing him in the ratings in 1993-94. Shame on NBC for going back for going back on their word!