Most of you have probably heard a little bit about this by now. There is a huge debacle going on with NBC late night. It's so crazy and such a giant screw up with so much money involved that it's far more interesting than anything that's been going on, on any of the late night shows over the past few years.
Back in 2004 Conan O'Brien signed a deal with NBC that he would get to host the Tonight Show starting in 2009. He had waited patiently and passed up lucrative offers to live his ultimate dream of taking the seat where Johnny Carson once sat. Now it seems more likely we'll see him on Fox a year from now and NBC will be nothing, but a memory.
From 2004 to 2009 there were no problems. Everything moved along smoothly. That is until Jay Leno decided he didn't want to retire.
NBC panicked. Knowing they had promised Conan the show and not wanting to let Jay go to a competitor they undertook the stupidest experiment in television history. Everyone older than 4 knew is would be a disaster except for Jeff Zucker who has single handedly made NBC a last place network with the bottom about to fall out. Yet still has a job somehow.
That experiment was to scrap an hour of primetime programming every night at the 10pm hour (where NBC used to excel with its dramas such as Law and Order and ER) and give it to Jay Leno. This is how they first dicked over Conan. Because Jay could not possibly get the ratings that a drama would at that hour, it would hurt his ratings and not really give him a fair chance to compete with the well established Letterman.
Still, NBC figured since they would be paying so little for the Jay Leno show in comparison to the dramas, the ratings hit wouldn't hurt them financially.
Well, surprise surprise it did. And finally NBC affiliates began complaining that the Jay Leno show was hurting their local news ratings and if something wasn't done they'd stop airing the Jay Leno show.
NBC reacted by saying they were canceling the Jay Leno show and moving it to 11:35 pm, which is Conan's timeslot and the timeslot the Tonight Show has had for decades pushing Conan's Tonight Show to 12:05 am (which means it is no longer tonight and should really be called the Tomorrow Show) and essentially throwing a brick through his 7 month run at 11:35. 7 months being infancy for a show that hosts tend to stick to for 15 years or more.
That also means pushing Jimmy Fallon (who took over Conan's old slot) back to 1:05 am and pushing Carson Daly back to .... eh ... well ... is Carson Daly still alive?
Ultimately NBC has lost an insane amount of money (and potentially stands to lose $40 million more on Conan's contract) and has completely dicked over Conan so hard he's probably bleeding profusely.
This has turned into the ultimate fodder for the very late night shows this governs as every host has taken time to rip NBC mercilessly and often rip Jay Leno as well.
Conan released a statement the other day saying that he would not follow Leno at 12:05 in the classiest way possible.
Now, NBC is in a lurch and really has no way out and most people are predicting that Conan winds up on Fox at 11pm.
That's pretty fucking dramatic and just a little confusing.
What side are you on? Where do you think Conan is in a year?