Conan O'Brien Says No to Tonight Show at 12:05

by Buzzfocus Staff on January 12, 2010 · 5 comments

in NBC, TV

Conan O’Brien stuck to his guns today, rejecting an NBC proposal to move his Tonight Show to 12:05AM, 30 minutes after Jay Leno. The host issued a statement today regarding the much-publicized late night talk show debacle over:

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.

But sadly, we were never given that chance. After only seven months, with my Tonight Show in its infancy, NBC has decided to react to their terrible difficulties in prime-time by making a change in their long-established late night schedule.

Last Thursday, NBC executives told me they intended to move the Tonight Show to 12:05 to accommodate the Jay Leno Show at 11:35. For 60 years the Tonight Show has aired immediately following the late local news. I sincerely believe that delaying the Tonight Show into the next day to accommodate another comedy program will seriously damage what I consider to be the greatest franchise in the history of broadcasting. The Tonight Show at 12:05 simply isn’t the Tonight Show. Also, if I accept this move I will be knocking the Late Night show, which I inherited from David Letterman and passed on to Jimmy Fallon, out of its long-held time slot. That would hurt the other NBC franchise that I love, and it would be unfair to Jimmy.

So it has come to this: I cannot express in words how much I enjoy hosting this program and what an enormous personal disappointment it is for me to consider losing it. My staff and I have worked unbelievably hard and we are very proud of our contribution to the legacy of The Tonight Show. But I cannot participate in what I honestly believe is its destruction. Some people will make the argument that with DVRs and the Internet a time slot doesn’t matter. But with the Tonight Show, I believe nothing could matter more.

There has been speculation about my going to another network but, to set the record straight, I currently have no other offer and honestly have no idea what happens next. My hope is that NBC and I can resolve this quickly so that my staff, crew, and I can do a show we can be proud of, for a company that values our work.

Have a great day and, for the record, I am truly sorry about my hair; it’s always been that way.

Yours,

Conan

  • Charlotte

    I’m glad all the Conan-Leno hullaballo is over. Now the network can get back to focusing on the other new shows it has coming up–personally, I’m looking forward to the new game show with Guy Fieri called “Minute to Win It.” Looks pretty cool—check out the facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/minutetowinit?ref=

  • Abigail

    I am very shocked at you NBC that your not looking at the whole picture here.I could not agree more with what Conan said about the time slot for the Tonight Show,which has been in place for the last 60+ years!Honestly,I think Johnny Carson and the other previous Tonight Show Hosts are rolling over in there graves because of this quick decision.This all has to do about MONEY!Jay Leno was a wonderful host himself on the Tonight Show,but just because your so called experiment show with Jay at the 9pm slot went totally off course doesn’t mean you literally slam the door in Conan’s face!Which all of you BIG EXECS have done without a doubt.Conan has carried the Tonight Show beautifully since he took over the show in 2009.His ratings didn’t lose 23+ %like Jays show has.I will also let you know all the hype with Jays new show was truly a total let down without a doubt!The first night I saw Jays new show I knew it was in trouble.Literally the first night!I then saw it a couple more times and I just said it was DOOMED!!Conan should feel exactly how he does at this moment.You all BIG WIGS are CLUELESS to the whole serious situation here.THE LIFE OR DEATH OF THE TONIGHT SHOW! It’s all about the money and the ratings(time slots a HUGE factor here) equals the survival of the Tonight Show,period!!If I were any of you who are jumping out of the gates way to soon I would seriously re-think what all of you are about to embark on here.If you don’t truly,wholeheartedly listen to Conan’s ideas/thoughts on this then all of you who are apart of this process are STONE HEARTED!!If Conan goes to another network you bet your bottom dollar that I will follow him!It’s a done deal with me!As for Jimmy Fallon,I will continue to watch him to.These young hosts are exactly where they should be!Also as far as my Comcast accounts,I will most probable cancel your services when they expire.SHAME ON ALL OF YOU EXECS WHO ARE A PART OF THIS PROCESS HAPPENING HERE!!

  • http://www.padsandpanels.com Bill Jones

    This sucks. Conan’s a great host. I’ve liked his show for years, and then the move to the Tonight Show is what he deserved and was promised. It seemed at the time like Jay was a good sport about passing the torch, but with the apparent failure of his primetime show, it’s sad that NBC is electing to bump Conan rather than give Jay his walking papers, like they should do.

  • http://www.motormavens.com Antonio from MOTORMAVENS.com

    That’s pretty sad for Conan. I’m a huge fan of Jay Leno because he’s a car guy like I am, but I know tons of people who love Conan and his show. One of my friends here at the office regularly watches Conan’s show on Hulu during his lunch break. This dude is laughing constantly in his cubicle. Constantly! haha

    I really hope they resolve this quickly. Conan is a great host, and it would be sad to lose him.

  • http://www.opinionresearch.com James Lytle

    Good for him, I can’t imagine the insult.

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