Conan to NBC: Drop Dead

You’ve gotta love any message from a celebrity that starts with “People of Earth.” As reported in Variety:

Conan O'BrienConan O’Brien to NBC: Drop dead.

O’Brien, who has kept his lips sealed so far over NBC’s decision to bump his show to midnight , other than cracking wise about it on “The Tonight Show” , is going public. And he’s not happy.

Here’s the complete statement:

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.

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  • http://disinfo.com ralph

    And he ends with “I am truly sorry about my hair; it's always been that way.”

  • tonyviner

    Jay Leno's ratings suck because his show sucks and he is not funny. It is really pretty simple when you boil it down and get to the heart of the matter. Bill Hicks was right about Leno:

    “Selling Doritos on TV? What a fuckin' whore. And not even when he needed the money either, you know? If you're a young actor, I'll look the other way, but the guy makes $3 million a year, he decides to hock Doritos to make more money. You don't got enough money you fucking whore? You've got to sell snacks to bovine America now? It's Satan fucking him in the ass on national TV man . . . fuck . . .”

    It's too bad he is dead because we could use someone like that around. He would probably be “banished” to England again, anyway.

  • Synapse

    NBC stop being retarded. Jay Leno is an old fart of a chin who isn't funny and hasn't been for a while. Knocking your more popular and more talented star who has always thought outside the box and been funny is part of the reason NBC has been slipping far behind the other channels for the past decade.

  • Word Eater

    Conan, you are, truly, a gentleman.

    Godspeed to you, sir!

  • Gigi

    Seriously does anyone even watch Leno who doesn't also wear adult diapers?

  • http://www.finitetimes.com/ FT

    This thing is going to get hella ugly before it's done.

  • Sam Kiyoumarsi

    Jay Leno is a fucking snake, he was NEVER funny. I hope he chokes on his own chin soon… Go Conan! wish you all the best from Manila!

  • honu

    Can’t believe I actually care enough about this ridiculous unimportant entertainment story to post something but I guess it appeals to me for some stupid reason. *sigh

    Ok…fact: Jay is not funny as a late night host and he interviews like an ass kissing joke. It’s so pathetically dull it dazzles me that he’s been on network television as long as he has. (I’ve heard he was cutting edge and unbelievably funny as a stand up back in the day but there’s no evidence for this on The Tonight Show or his new show).

    Leno may have been kicking Letterman’s ass in the ratings for years when he was hosting the Tonight Show but David Letterman is part of the true pedigree of classic late night television hosts with an original take on the genre. He pioneered alot of the unique gag ideas that Leno and Conan have copied.

    I like Conan because he has a unique voice and even though I don’t find his humor all together my style I appreciate that he’s doing it his way. Leno’s show feels like it was written and produced by test audiences.

  • honu

    Can't believe I actually care enough about this ridiculous unimportant entertainment story to post something but I guess it appeals to me for some stupid reason. *sigh

    Ok…fact: Jay is not funny as a late night host and he interviews like an ass kissing joke. It's so pathetically dull it dazzles me that he's been on network television as long as he has. (I've heard he was cutting edge and unbelievably funny as a stand up back in the day but there's no evidence for this on The Tonight Show or his new show).

    Leno may have been kicking Letterman's ass in the ratings for years when he was hosting the Tonight Show but David Letterman is part of the true pedigree of classic late night television hosts with an original take on the genre. He pioneered alot of the unique gag ideas that Leno and Conan have copied.

    I like Conan because he has a unique voice and even though I don't find his humor all together my style I appreciate that he's doing it his way. Leno's show feels like it was written and produced by test audiences.

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