Saturday, January 09, 2010

CONAN O'BRIEN IS GETTING THE LATE SHAFT

Well, this is all going to be big-time fodder for Bill Carter's next book on late-night TV -- the one he hasn't published yet, but don't worry, he'll get around to it. There's just too much crazy stuff going on with this Jay Leno-back-to-11:30 pm story.

I imagine Conan O'Brien is completed ticked off at these developments. First, he gets the Tonight Show. Great. But then, he finds out Jay Leno is getting an even bigger show in prime time that is competing for bookings with his own show. Now, in the wake of disasterous ratings they want to move Jay back to 11:30pm and move Conan back a half-hour. Some are predicting Conan will actually agree to go along with this crazy setup. I dunno. To me, this seems like a major slap in the face to him and a major setback. Word is NBC is giving him the option of leaving the network if he wants. I guess NBC figures it doesn't matter where Conan goes; Jay will clobber him anyway.

NBC can justify giving Conan the shaft because of lackluster ratings of his own ever since he took over the Tonight Show. The ratings have been in the toilet just as much for Conan as it is for Leno, so both guys are getting the screws put to them by the network. What's really sad is that Conan hasn't done all that badly as far as the content of the show is concerned at 11:30pm, but it doesn't matter because the only thing that counts to NBC is the number of viewers. And Conan has been getting beat by Dave and by Nightline.

Anyhow, the rumors are flyiog that Fox is interested in Conan, and that Conan is interested and may well bolt NBC. We'll see what transpires. But I gotta say, if I were Conan O'Brien I would be looking to get the heck out of NBC if it is at all possible. They seem bent on ruining their vaunted late night with all their crazy scheduling moves.

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