I’m not gonna do this every Friday anymore. It’s getting old. But, it’s fitting this week with the news that Conan O’Brien may not be hosting the Tonight Show for much longer.
Everyone’s heard all the details and rumors. I’ll spare you having to read more of that. And I won’t be hilarious like my hero Conan O’Brien has been in addressing this issue.
Why? Because I’m too disappointed in NBC. I grew up watching NBC. Fox was created for my generation and I still only really watched NBC…granted, “only watched NBC” until recently. Other networks have been doing great shows and NBC…well, they have a few prime time shows I watch.
And I became a hugely devoted Conan O’Brien fan in the 90’s. I’ve watched him for years and when I heard he was taking over the Tonight Show I was thrilled. I was okay with Leno, his humor is quite what I’m into. I’ve always liked Letterman more. With Conan at the helm of TV’s greatest franchise I thought the show could return to an era not unlike Carson’s reign.
Now they want to take that away and forget about what they’ll do 3-5 years from now.
Their handling of this smells with the stench of 1992. Yeah, NBC has the right to do what they are saying they want to do. That doesn’t make it the right thing to do. It lacks integrity, logic, or basic decency.
And Dick Ebersol, before you say it’s about ratings take into account the facts that A) Jay Leno didn’t start out the late-night king back in ’92, B) Conan had ratings that showed potential until the Jay Leno Show started, and C) The Jay Leno Show didn’t rate that well, either. How can you say “It’s about ratings so, so give it to this other guy who isn’t performing well?”
I just don’t see how NBC thinks this makes good sense from a ratings point of view. Leno is the reason there wasn’t a good lead-in for the news and for the Tonight Show. And if they reinstate him as the host of the Tonight Show it would seriously damage the integrity of the franchise. Also, with the current public opinion of Leno, I doubt that he’d return to “late-night king” status.
Networks don’t care about how well they treat people, I get that. “It’s show business,” they say. Which is just an excuse to treat people like crap while pretending it’s not unethical.
But it’s just bad business practice to tell a guy for 5 years he’s gonna host the Tonight Show then uproot him, his crew, and their families out of New York, sending them to the other side of the country just for you to snatch away what you’d been promising them for 5 years.
If it weren’t for Tina Fey and Lorne Michaels, I’d probably never watch NBC for their lack of taste and good creative judgment. But considering how Zucker is running things, I’m not sure if NBC will even be around much longer for me or anyone else to watch.
And that is how my heart is breaking this week.