Conan O’Brien rejects NBC offer to move The Tonight Show time

Posted By: The Ski Channel on January 12, 2010 1:48 pm

Seven months ago, Jay Leno left “The Tonight Show” and was replaced by Conan O’Brien. “The Tonight Show” airs at 11:35 PM. Jay got his own primetime talk show at 10PM.

However, that primetime show did not deliver in ratings and the show didn’t meet the needs of network affiliates, so NBC canned it.

Instead of just saying goodbye to Jay, NBC offered him a half hour talk show at 11:35PM. This would bump Conan and “The Tonight Show” to begin at 12:05AM. Conan has rejected this proposal.

“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,” O’Brien said. “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.

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,” O’Brien continued. ” ‘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.”

We’re trying to talk our CEO, Steve, into putting in an offer for Conan. “The Ski Channel Tonight with Conan O’Brien”. Has a nice ring, no? Our show “Moguls”, hosted by Zeke Piestrup, is an interview show with all the who’s who in the ski and snowboard industry, from Glen Plake to Simon Dumont to Gretchen Bleiler. I love Zeke, but maybe this is our opportunity to bring Conan in on it. Excellent.