Ok, I wanted to write this and get this all out-my thoughts on this situation with Late Night programming. A lot of people are down on Jay Leno for what appears to be him taking back The Tonight Show from Conan O'Brien. But there's more here than meets the eye.
Let's go back a few years to the decision NBC made to give the Tonight Show to Conan. Now Conan has been loyal to NBC and put in a lot of work and after a shaky start, made his version of "Late Night" a hit, and kudos to him for that.
Here's the thing most of us forget though, Jay was enjoying doing the Tonight Show-who wouldn't?
And Jay didn't want to just give up and retire, so he received offers from other networks that would be thrilled to have him.
NBC, not wanting to lose Jay to another network, made him an offer: A 10 p.m. slot. Make no mistake about it, this was a VERY bold move. This way, Conan gets the Tonight Show, Jay gets a show, and NBC not only keeps them both, but they also have a program that's cheaper to produce than a scripted show 5 nights a week.
NBC also offered Jay 2 years-regardless of ratings. Now, suddenly NBC is worried about poor ratings and claims that their affiliates aren't happy.
Now think about this for a minute: You're a newscaster at a small station(I don't care if you're in California, everyone is small time compared to a major network like NBC) Are you seriously going to go to NBC and complain about one of their biggest names dragging down your ratings? maybe you're ratings suck because you're on NBC-just an idea.
Anyway, I really don't think anyone has balls(or an ego) big enough to go running to NBC to complain, but that's NBC's excuse. So suddenly Jay's 2 year deal is off.
Whose fault is that? Certainly not Jay's, he's just doing his show, which NBC had him take, because they were afraid Conan might get impatient waiting for Jay to retire so he can host The Tonight Show.
Did Conan get a raw deal? Yes. Did Leno? Yes. I really don't care for this belly aching David Letterman and Jimmy Kimmel are dishing out, Dave has been pissed ever since he got passed over nearly 18 years ago, and frankly I've always felt Jay should have gotten the show, he was the permanent guest host after all, and conceivably Garry Shandling was next in line after him, and if you really want to get down to it, had Joan Rivers not walked away from her permanent guest host gig subbing for Johnny Carson, she could be hosting the show at this very moment.
When you get right down to it, this was probably a move done by NBC so they didn't have another situation like back in 1993, when Letterman jumped to CBS. I'm just sayin'
Jimmy Kimmel, really doesn't come into play here, besides him throwing his 2 cents in, he's really inconsequential in this whole deal.
So what we have here is a mess started by NBC and the facts are these:
They tried to push Jay Leno out of a job he wasn't willing to leave.
They offered him a show with a 2 year contract and changed their minds.
They never gave Conan a chance and quite frankly you'd have a hard time convincing me they really care about Conan at this point.
So, I suppose jay will return to the Tonight Show, since Conan is walking away from it, and Conan might go to Fox, and we'll have 3 channels to flip through somewhere down the line, but for the record, this comes down to NBC, not Jay Leno and if you can't understand why Jay won't retire, then you my friend, have never had a job you actually enjoyed.
And we'll be right back......