Leno More Powerful Than The Tonight Show

The Tonight Show is 55-years-old, but it must not be more important to NBC than Jay Leno is.  After a 5-month expirement that fell flat, Leno’s new show is set to return to late night.

“On Sunday, NBC confirmed what was Hollywood’s hottest rumor all weekend: The network is dropping The Jay Leno Show from its prime-time lineup after his Feb. 11 show. The former Tonight Show host will return to late night on March 1, after NBC’s coverage of the Winter Olympics, in a half-hour format in his old perch at 11:35 p.m. ET/PT. The Tonight Show, now hosted by Conan O’Brien, would move from the after-news slot it has occupied since the ’60s to after midnight: 12:05 a.m. ET/PT.”

Jay Leno wants to tell jokes at 11:30pm and Conan O’Brien wants to host the Tonight Show.  This compromise just doesn’t seem right and it all came about when Leno announced when he would quit the Tonight Show.  If not for that announcement, Leno would likely still be hosting the Tonight Show and this wouldn’t be an issue.

“Leno’s return to late night throws into question the future complexion of the legendary Tonight Show— at 55, one of the longest-running shows on television — as well as the future of its new host, O’Brien.

O’Brien now faces a difficult choice: Does he stay at the network that promised five years ago he’d get the primary late-night slot? Or does he bolt for another network and collect an eight-figure penalty NBC would face for reneging on his Tonight Show deal?”

I’m not a big fan of the Tonight Show regardless of who the host is, but I think this is a chance for O’Brien to get paid.  If he can leave and get paid I think he should go that route – I don’t think he can win at this point.  The network has decided that Leno is their late night man and they are bumping O’Brien to show it.  I would have never thought Jay Leno was bigger than the tonight show, but apparently that is the case.

In a world where so many people are just out to get the most money they can, it would be smart for O’Brien to do just that.  Conan, take the money, take a vacation and get paid at another network.

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