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The latest on Conan, Leno and NBC

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by Diallo B, Jan 7, 2010.

  1. Brent M

    Brent M Producer

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    Conan cares a helluva lot more about the integrity of The Tonight Show than Leno who didn't even mention Carson's name when he took over the show.
     
  2. Walter Kittel

    Walter Kittel Lead Actor

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  3. Neil Middlemiss

    Neil Middlemiss Producer
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    I caught Conan on Inside the Actors Studio today (on Bravo), and he is a seriously funny fan. I tried Leno's show and was not impressed. I don't watch late night shows, except on rare occasions, from from an outsiders perspective, the situation with Leno grabbily reclaiming the Tonight Show is disgusting. Hopefully Conan will find great success wherever he lands.
     
  4. Brandon Conway

    Brandon Conway captveg

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    Looks like they're still negotiating the intellectual property rights:

    http://www.tmz.com/2010/01/18/conan-obrien-nbc-triumph-insult-comic-dog-tonight-show/
     
  5. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    I was going to say that Conan should continue the Masturbating Bear just to goad NBC into filing a lawsuit over "The Masturbating Bear," but it looks like that won't be necessary after all. :)

    I wonder how much of this debacle is actually Leno's or Conan's decision -- seems to me that the NBC suits decided to cancel Leno's 10pm show and move him back to 11:30. Leno could refuse to do the show at 11:30, I guess, but who knows what his contract situation is. He might be looking at a big fat nothin' if he did that, while Conan gets a $30-$40 million payday for standing on principle.

    Food for thought. . .
     
  6. Sam Davatchi

    Sam Davatchi Producer

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    I was very sad when I heard that Conan is leaving.
     
  7. Brandon Conway

    Brandon Conway captveg

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    Leno finally plays to his strength, which is simply telling it from his viewpoint, and not trying to make a joke about him being a victim at all. (Fair or not, Leno is getting his old show back, so playing the victim just doesn't play well). Video from tonight's show at the link:

    http://tv.gawker.com/5451462/jay-leno-conans-show-was-not-doing-well?skyline=true&s=i&autoplay=true

    If this is really how it went down.... man those NBC execs are total idiots. Did they really think Conan would take a bump down? Seems like the biggest mistake they made, in retrospect, was pushing Leno out the door back in 2004. If you believe Leno's explanation, they really did shove that decision down his throat back then. Better to let Conan walk back then. Hindsight is 20/20. Granted, Leno's rationalization on his own show back in 2004 (as seen online lately) is a bit hard to swallow, but I really hope tonight's explanation is how it happened. The part about NBC not being willing to settle his contract both earlier this year and last week are illuminating.
     
  8. Brent M

    Brent M Producer

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    Leno says he has no animosity towards Conan. Well, no shit. Why would he have any animosity, he's not the one getting dicked over in this whole mess. He also managed to say twice during that heartfelt statement how Conan's show wasn't doing well. What a douchebag!
     
  9. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Director

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    And he mentioned both times that this own show was also not doing well. Both are facts. It was a straight forward and, I believe, classy statement. Do I think he should have just stepped aside? Certainly. Do I think he has a legitimate argument when he says he's been the team player throughout all of this? Absolutely.

    NBC told him they were giving Conan the "Tonight Show" in 2004, and he accepted it. NBC told him they wanted to keep him around in 2009, and he accepted that too. When they came to him with their stupid scheme, he was going to ride that wave as well. The best tactical move would have been to simply walk to another network once Conan took over the Tonight Show. Since NBC refused to release him from his contract at that time, it sounds like jumping ship to another network would have meant being off the air for 18 months until the contract ran out. Given how this situation has unfolded, it would have probably still been the smarter move. But I can understand why Jay didn't.

    In the end, it's still show business. Nobody hands you anything. NBC wasn't about to hand Conan the Tonight Show, so he used his leverage to force them to give it to him. Jay moving to ABC or Fox would have killed the 11:35 hour for NBC, so the network used the leverage of his contract to keep him planted. At the moment when the shit hit the fan, NBC viewed Jay as a more valuable asset than Conan and that's why Conan's gotten the shitty hand in all of this. At least until Zucker got himself into a huff over Conan's letter, nothing about this was personal. And in the end, Conan might be the one better off, since he'd be hopping from the sinking ship.
     
  10. Brent M

    Brent M Producer

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    It's easy for Leno to be the "team player" when the network is going to ax Conan and give him back his old show. If Leno had any class at all he would've said from the start that he would not take The Tonight Show back as a show of respect. As it stands, he looks like a complete scumbag in this whole scenario and I honestly don't know how anyone could think otherwise. He had the show for 17 years, he's made hundreds of millions of dollars and he can still perform stand-up anywhere he wants. To take The Tonight Show back from Conan after he was only given 7 months to host it is the most underhanded, backstabbing thing he could do IMHO.
     
  11. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    À la Letterman in '93.
     
  12. Mikah Cerucco

    Mikah Cerucco Cinematographer

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    This is one of the reasons why, though I wish everyone would just shut up and get back to work, I'm partially glad Jay made the factual statements he did. The public is hopelessly confused about what's been going on. Jay "reclaiming"? Now even the anti-Jay contingent in this thread has suggested that's what happened. It's that old saying about truth being the first victim of war.

    I've no problem with folks having various opinions about the facts, but something rubs me the wrong way when folks (and this isn't directed at Neil) make up facts to support their opinions.

    As near as I can tell from following this thread, here's what happened...

    Jay isn't doing as well as hoped (by affiliates, if no one else) in prime time. Conan isn't doing as well as hoped on the Tonight Show. In order to address the situation, NBC wanted to move Jay back to 11:35 (ET), where he'd done well in the past, and push The Tonight Show w/Conan O'Brien back half an hour. That's it. Conan refuses to play ball and would rather leave the Tonight Show. What's NBC supposed to do, leave it hostless? Of course they'll put Jay back in the spot if he still wants to do it and Conan decides to leave.

    Should NBC have made different decisions at various points? Probably. But how often does the public really agree with the decisions networks make anyway? The point is, Jay didn't "reclaim" anything. He doesn't have the power to do that. He is simply (at this point) taking over a show vacated by another host (Conan).
    It's unrealistic for Conan fans to suggest that Jay should work against his own interests as some kind of show of solidarity for someone he was never been particularly close or friendly with to begin with. It also wasn't Jay's job to go to NBC and refuse to do a show at 10:35 out of solidarity. To me, it's as silly as saying Hugh Laurie should go to Fox and say they can't air House on Monday's at 8 (ET) because he doesn't want to take "24"'s time slot. That just isn't how things work in the TV business. Generally speaking, the talent provides shows, and the networks decide where they want to air them.

    NBC isn't the Darth Vader some folks are making them out to be. They could have just said, "We're moving The Tonight Show." Period. And if Conan wanted to quit, NBC could have simply said, "Fine, then you get paid nothing. If you expect something, take us to court."

    I'm still of the opinion that while there are some poor decisions all around, nobody should be getting fitted for halos just yet. It's business. And all parties involved are making business decisions in their own interests -- as they should.
     
  13. Chris Lockwood

    Chris Lockwood Producer

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    Meanwhile, Jay said nice things about Conan. Just shows who is the one with class.
     
  14. Chris Lockwood

    Chris Lockwood Producer

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    Amen to that. All the hate for Jay is quite sad to see.
     
  15. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    I think Jay is getting a bad rap to some degree (as far as I'm concerned, this disaster should be blamed almost squarely on NBC for trying to fix something that wasn't broken) but in all fairness, he's the guy who won back The Tonight Show so he can't make jokes about Conan without looking like a complete jerk. In short, Jay has to say nice things about Conan whether he means them or not.
     
  16. Gary Seven

    Gary Seven Grand Poo Pah

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    "So, you lose respect for someone who tries to do what his employer wants him to do?"

    Yes... when the employer is trying to invoke an absolutely moronic idea. Men of concscience do not follow orders blindly.

    I admire Conan for wanting to protect the legacy of the tonight show. I don't find it necessarily idiotic to stand up to principle. I have to agree..... moving the Tonight Show to 12:05 is not the Tonight Show. As Letterman said, more like the Tomorrow Show. I admire him for standing up for what he thinks is right... rather than blindly follow leaders who are clearly clueless in regards to late night TV programming. Who here really thought the Jay Leno show would do well in the prime time slot? NBC execs have already shown bad judgement and would have proved it further if they had indeed followed through on the initial plan of putting Jay on at 11:30 for a half hour. That move is laughable and bravo Conan for having the balls and integrity for calling it like it is.
     
  17. Neil Middlemiss

    Neil Middlemiss Producer
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    Perhaps my understanding of the larger picture of late night machinations informs my impressions of Jay, but if I were in Jay's shoes, I would not take back The Tonight Show from Conan. I would say that it is his show (The Tonight Show is a legacy; an institution) - and Conan deserves the time and flexibility for the show to find its legs just as Jay was given when he took over the reigns.

    To suggest that Jay is perhaps unhappily taking over the show he retired from is selective commentary. NBC is at fault here, but Jay and Conan are making important decisions which galvanize or reduce the impact of NBC's decisions. Conan is exactly right not to want to change the foundation of The Tonight Show to accomodate Jay (Would jay have done that when he was host?). Jay should not take his old job out of respect for a fellow comedian. That may sound too much like unreasonable nobility, but history is replete with such acts and I cannot imagine Jays new reign will be unmarred by these transgressions. I think the person who called Conan an "#$%hol" should take a step back and better understand the history and facts of what has occured. Jay may be getting more flak than he deserves, but I would respect him much more if he did the honorable thing and leave The Tonight Show with Conan. And those who would say that wouldn't be likely, well, Conan would have stayed there had he allowed the show to be moved from its long-standing airtime to accomodate a 30-minute Jay show. The entire situation is absurd.
     
  18. Chris Lockwood

    Chris Lockwood Producer

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    I love how Conan quitting and getting a mega-million $$$ payout is somehow noble, yet Jay is supposed to just walk away with nothing like a good soldier. Unbelievable.

    If Conan really cared about the legacy of the Tonight Show, he wouldn't have agreed to host it.
     
  19. Brent M

    Brent M Producer

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    It's not class, it's called damage control. Leno knows most people see him as a bastard in this situation and it's ruining the nice guy image he's always tried to cultivate. I don't know how anyone could fault Conan for being visibly pissed at a guy who is trying to take his show away from him. If Leno actually had class he would've said from the start that he did not want The Tonight Show back if it meant Conan losing his job. That would be the honorable thing to do, but obviously "The Chin" has no intention of doing that.
     
  20. Brandon Conway

    Brandon Conway captveg

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    Quote:Originally Posted by Chris Lockwood
     

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