Can you believe it: this time last week we were going about our Friday afternoon business, completely unaware that the following week would see the dramatic exit of Conan O’Brien from NBC’s “Tonight Show.”
After a week of insult-slinging from their respective shows, Jay Leno and O’Brien had seemingly hit an impasse in NBC’s resolution to reinstate Leno to the 11:35 slot and push O’Brien back till 12:05. But today brings some light at the end of the tunnel: The Daily Beast reports that O’Brien will be leaving NBC, (though there are conflicting reports about when he’ll actually be leaving). He’s also going to reportedly receive an undisclosed large lump sum to ease the pain of his departure.
Meanwhile not everyone is on Team Conan: Dick Ebersol, president of NBC Universal Sports, told The New York Times yesterday that it was “chicken-hearted and gutless” for O’Brien and David Letterman “to blame a guy you couldn’t beat in the ratings.”
And while it’s true that Leno’s got the bigger numbers, O’Brien’s got the cult fan base appeal and viewers who will certainly jump ship with him no matter where he ends up. The word Fox has been floating around, but as The Daily Beast points out today, it’s unlikely Fox will go public with their courtship while O’Brien is still in the middle of negotiations with NBC.
But don’t worry guys, no matter how this shakes out, both Leno and O’Brien will remain ridiculously wealthy millionaires who could buy their own television station for syndicated reruns of their shows 24 hours a day, if they so desired.
Read More: Executive Leaps to Leno’s Defense –New York Times
Conan’s Exit Confirmed –The Daily Beast
Fox suits on nabbing Conan O’Brien: ‘We are not free to talk’ –Hollywood Insider