Once again NBC stabs someone else in the back in favor of Jay Leno. NBC’s reason is because of poor ratings and they want to try to win back the lead that David Letterman currently gleaned from their poor management. People seem to forget that it took Jay Leno 2 years before he started dominating late night for the next 10 or so. Yet despite that initial 2 year investment for Leno during the 1993-94 seasons, NBC feels that 7 months is more than adequate for Conan O’Brien to show his mettle and they aren’t pleased with the results. Even though, Jay Leno’s new show is being largely credited for Conan’s lackluster ratings, he is still going to get rewarded by getting his old job back and forcing Conan to either eat a slice of humble-pie or move on.
I’m glad that Conan has decided on the latter. If NBC has shown anything during the post-Carson years of late night, it’s that they can’t get over Jay Leno and beware anyone who stands in the way of their relationship. The irony is that during his “final-run” at the Tonight Show, Jay said that he didn’t want a repeat of the messy battle he had with David Letterman for his job when Carson retired and initially handpicked Dave his successor. Yet 16 years later, not only is NBC going through the same fiasco, it’s actually worse because it’s completely out in the open that they couldn’t fulfill their part of their agreement with Conan (whereas back then “no promises” were made between NBC and Letterman). For his part, David Letterman has done well with his move to CBS. I’m sure Conan will do the same wherever he decides to call his new home.