Author Topic: Conan to Replace Leno in 2009!!!! (UPDATE: Leno to Replace Conan in 2010!!!!)  (Read 8599 times)

Offline BillCable

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While we don't know the intimate details of his contract it appears that he is barred from hosting a show, so guest appearances may be permitted.

Where'd you hear that?  Every indication I've seen is that he'll be hosting someplace else by the fall...

Fox ready to swoop in on Conan
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Offline Matt

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Timed no-compete clause through September 1.

Offline BillCable

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Just until the fall, then.  Got it.
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Offline Brian

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I thought it was a nice send off on Friday as well, although I really wish this whole thing wouldn't have happened.  Like others have said, I can understand the ratings issue - especially for a network struggling like NBC - but I guess my wife and I have always enjoyed Conan's comedy/sense of humor, and liked seeing him get a shot at the "big time".  I do hope he lands on another network (like Fox), and we'll follow him there.

I personally don't get the appeal of Leno really, never have.  Prior to this whole issue with Conan, I thought Leno seemed like a nice enough guy but just didn't seem all that funny to me.  Now I think he's sort of a heel for taking over the Tonight Show again.  The guy obviously has plenty of money, and could have stood by his friend Conan and said "I'm not doing it either" and see what NBC would do there.  Of course, it is easy to say this as an outside observer, but he just didn't come off looking all that great in this to me.  We've always preferred Conan and Dave to Leno anyways, and we'll continue those viewing habits.

Offline jedi_master_sal

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While we don't know the intimate details of his contract it appears that he is barred from hosting a show, so guest appearances may be permitted.

Where'd you hear that?  Every indication I've seen is that he'll be hosting someplace else by the fall...

Fox ready to swoop in on Conan

Yeah, I knew not until September 1st. But by now I guess I thought everyone else knew that too.

Kind of hard to miss it, it's been in the news too much.
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Offline jedi_master_sal

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I thought it was a nice send off on Friday as well, although I really wish this whole thing wouldn't have happened.  Like others have said, I can understand the ratings issue - especially for a network struggling like NBC - but I guess my wife and I have always enjoyed Conan's comedy/sense of humor, and liked seeing him get a shot at the "big time".  I do hope he lands on another network (like Fox), and we'll follow him there.

I personally don't get the appeal of Leno really, never have.  Prior to this whole issue with Conan, I thought Leno seemed like a nice enough guy but just didn't seem all that funny to me.  Now I think he's sort of a heel for taking over the Tonight Show again.  The guy obviously has plenty of money, and could have stood by his friend Conan and said "I'm not doing it either" and see what NBC would do there.  Of course, it is easy to say this as an outside observer, but he just didn't come off looking all that great in this to me.  We've always preferred Conan and Dave to Leno anyways, and we'll continue those viewing habits.

I think Leno has been a quiet ******bag in all of this. He comes off as if "Oh, it's the network's fault." True enough NBC came to him more than 5 years ago and told him he would lose the show to Conan. That was NBC's first mistake.

But then NBC gives him a show and one before Conan? Nothing really changed except for the time of the shows. Conan never got a fair shake at the Tonight show specifically. Had Leno properly retired as Carson and the other hosts of the Tonight show did before him, then NBC could have seen if it really was Conan's fault for the ratings or their decision to keep Leno on the air.

Had Leno retired fans of the Tonight show would have either stayed with the show or gone somewhere else (Letterman, etc.). But no, noone will ever know because that didn't happen. Depending on your comedic inclinations Conan is edgier while Leno is safer. Neither is wrong persay in their style. But for Leno not to step down at all was a bad move for all involved.

Really, NBC should have just recanted the offer to Conan about having the Tonight show and kept him at Late Night. Leno was kicking Letterman's butt in the ratings before all of this. It was ludicrous to change it all up. So to me it's mostly NBC's fault, then Leno. Coco doesn't have much to blame in all of this if you ask me.

What's ironic in all of this is that the biggest reason for NBC moving Conan to the Tonight Show was to not lose him to another network. Good call NBC... Looks like that will happen anyway.

For all the bad blood this has created, I'm betting Leno will never fully recover all of his fans. Some people will stay loyal to Conan. When Conan does get back on the air, if it competes with Leno/Letterman, then we may have yet another ratings war on our hands, and I'll be front and center of my TV for that supporting Conan.
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Offline DSJ™

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Johnny Carson is turning in his grave!  :-\

Offline BillCable

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What's interesting... Conan said he'd rather leave than watch The Tonight Show brand damaged.  But in a few months he'll be competing with the very show he wanted to protect!  And given that he and Leno attract a similar audience (more similar than he and Letterman do), he'll have a hand in ensuring The Tonight Show has the worst ratings in late-night.
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Offline jedi_master_sal

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What's interesting... Conan said he'd rather leave than watch The Tonight Show brand damaged.  But in a few months he'll be competing with the very show he wanted to protect!  And given that he and Leno attract a similar audience (more similar than he and Letterman do), he'll have a hand in ensuring The Tonight Show has the worst ratings in late-night.

It's the 11:35pm timeslot that he didn't want to see changed. That is the branding of the Tonight Show. Not 12:05 as NBC had suggested to him.

If he happens to get a new late night talk show and is lucky enough to trounce any of the competition or at least take a share of it, good on him. It's really NBCs fault at this point for making all the changes it did.

I still feel NBC should not have moved Leno out to begin with. Barring that Leno should never have been allowed a new show and one that leads into the Tonight Show.

As far as the Tonight Show have bad ratings due to Conan, well more power to Conan. Yes, he got a fat paycheck to leave NBC, but in principle he was still screwed over. NBC deserves whatever bad happens in the late night wars.
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Offline Rob

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What's interesting... Conan said he'd rather leave than watch The Tonight Show brand damaged.  But in a few months he'll be competing with the very show he wanted to protect!  And given that he and Leno attract a similar audience (more similar than he and Letterman do), he'll have a hand in ensuring The Tonight Show has the worst ratings in late-night.

What Conan was talking about though was the fact that the Tonight Show is supposed to follow the local news... it's been in that slots since forever and he's right, it should stay there.

He also probably thought they'd back down.

Offline jedi_master_sal

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...He also probably thought they'd back down.

That is what I think is the most surprising in all of this. NBC wanted Conan in that timeslot. Not Leno.

I don't see what NBC didn't try canning Leno first and stick with just Conan for a couple of months to see how things panned out. I'd make any guess without Leno, Conan's ratings would increase as he wouldn't have to compete against Leno and his fans in an earlier time slot.


Somewhere someone is saying, "The Tonight Show, a great show....for me to poop on!"
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Offline Matt

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And given that he and Leno attract a similar audience (more similar than he and Letterman do)

Completely disagree.

Offline Nicklab

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This whole late night war has been about ratings, money, and trying to lock up talent for years to come.

The deal to give Conan O'brien the Tonight Show was inked back in 2003/04.  And that was set up so that when Leno's deal expired NBC could easily transition Conan O'brien into the Tonight Show.  That show has been the pinnacle for comics for generations, and the 11:35 timeslot gets far more viewers than the 12:35 timeslot.  NBC wanted to lock Conan in for that job rather than risk losing him to another network that WOULD offer him an earlier timeslot.  Why?  Because he had been number one in his timeslot.

The problem with this plan?  Leno's show had been number 1 in it's timeslot consistently for about 15 years.  No offense to David Letterman, but Jay Leno beat him in the ratings more often than not.  But NBC had a plan and wanted to stick to it.  And part of the reason why?  If NBC did not give the Tonight Show to Conan O'brien, then they were going to have to pay him between $30 and $40 million in compensation for letting him go away.  Still, Leno was number 1 by a substantial margin.  Why should he have to give up his gig where he had proven himself to be a top performer because of a short-sighted business deal that had been made 6 years earlier?

So NBC tried to have it both ways.  They came up with this plan to give Conan the Tonight Show, but also to keep Jay Leno in the fold.  They saw his success in late night and thought it could translate to a 10 PM show.  Plus Leno's show would be SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper to produce 5 nights a week than 5 hours of scripted programming.  There was some initial ratings success because people wanted to see what was going to happen.  

But much to NBC's chagrin the ratings dropped off.  And that hurt the affiliates ad sales.  Not just in the local commercial sales for the 10 PM hour, but in the hours after.  Ratings dropped off for the 11 o'clock news.  And that in turn hurt the Tonight Show.

So what choices did NBC have?  Can Leno?  Do that and you've got another expensive payout to make, but to Leno in this case.  Move Leno's show back to 11:35 and the Tonight Show to 12:05?  Conan wasn't having that.  But NBC didn't see Conan as the proven performer in his new timeslot like Leno had proven himself to be.

So Leno goes back to hosting the Tonight Show after the Olympics.  And he'll slug it out with Letterman for a while, but he'll probably get back on top ratings wise.  Letterman has only gotten to number 1 sporadically.

Conan will probably have a deal with either Fox or ABC pretty soon.  Kimmel's not that much of a performer and ABC may even be persuaded to ditch Nightline.  But Conan will be off the air until September due to contractual obligations.  Still,  it's going to take at least that long to get a new show set up.  Hopefully he'll be able to keep all of his staff.  Especially those people who made the move from NY to LA with him for the Tonight Show.

NBC is still pretty well screwed even if the situation has been resolved for now.  They've lost Conan.  They had to pay him over $30 million and almost $10 million to his staff.  Plus, they have to figure out a way to program 10 PM in prime time 5 nights a week.  Given the state that NBC primetime has been in for the past few years it doesn't look good.  They're going to be hurt by these moves for a while to come.  And it's all because NBC tried to lock in this long term deal way to far in advance.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2010, 03:00 AM by Nicklab »
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Offline Chris M

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Good observations Nick.

I like Leno, but it was after the news was over.  I'd prefer to see NBC bring back some shows that seemed to have a bit of a following, like Life.  I was so pissed when it was taken off the air.  I'd love see NBC bring back something like that a pump some more life into that network.
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Offline Nicklab

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Your complaints about NBC primetime with shows like Life being taken off the air are indicative of why this grand experiment failed.  People like their shows in prime time. 

NBC has been struggling to find some hit shows in primetime since the heady days of Must See TV.  And they've made a lot of gaffes.  They passed on some HUGE shows.  Like Lost, Desperate Housewives, the CSI franchise, etc.  So this debacle is another failure in a string of programming failures.

As for Conan?  I think he got a raw deal, but it was the network that was responsible for this state of affairs.  Not Jay Leno.  I think Conan can do well given some time.  But I also hope that Coco's able to get his new show launched while there's still a lot of goodwill being sent his way.
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