Conan O’Brien tells NBC to f-ck itself

January 12th, 2010 // 126 Comments

Conan O’Brien released a statement announcing he will not participate in NBC’s decision to push The Tonight Show to 12:05 a.m. in order to accommodate a half-hour Jay Leno show at 11:35:

So it has come to this: I cannot express in words how much I enjoy hosting this program and what an enormous personal disappointment it is for me to consider losing it. 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. 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.

Somewhere Jimmy Fallon just came.

NOTE: For those of you following this debacle religiously, Deus Ex Malcontent has an awesome audio clip of Patton Oswalt summing up why Jay Leno is a cash-hungry prick. And Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter lays out a detailed plan for NBC to pull its head of its peacock ass.

Conan O’Brien’s Statement:

People of Earth:

In the last few days, I’ve been getting a lot of sympathy calls, and I want to start by making it clear that no one should waste a second feeling sorry for me. For 17 years, I’ve been getting paid to do what I love most and, in a world with real problems, I’ve been absurdly lucky. That said, I’ve been suddenly put in a very public predicament and my bosses are demanding an immediate decision.

Six years ago, I signed a contract with NBC to take over The Tonight Show in June of 2009. Like a lot of us, I grew up watching Johnny Carson every night and the chance to one day sit in that chair has meant everything to me. I worked long and hard to get that opportunity, passed up far more lucrative offers, and since 2004 I have spent literally hundreds of hours thinking of ways to extend the franchise long into the future. It was my mistaken belief that, like my predecessor, I would have the benefit of some time and, just as important, some degree of ratings support from the prime-time schedule. Building a lasting audience at 11:30 is impossible without both.

But sadly, we were never given that chance. After only seven months, with my Tonight Show in its infancy, NBC has decided to react to their terrible difficulties in prime-time by making a change in their long-established late night schedule.

Last Thursday, NBC executives told me they intended to move the Tonight Show to 12:05 to accommodate the Jay Leno Show at 11:35. 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. 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.

So it has come to this: I cannot express in words how much I enjoy hosting this program and what an enormous personal disappointment it is for me to consider losing it. 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. 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.

Have a great day and, for the record, I am truly sorry about my hair; it’s always been that way.

Yours,

Conan

Photos: Getty
superficial

  1. Nome King

    Class act.

  2. Richard McBeef

    good for him to tell the NBC to suck it.

    Jay Leno needs to be brought out to pasture.

  3. Class act. That’s all I have to say. NBC should be utterly embarrassed.

  4. Class act. That’s all I have to say. NBC should be utterly embarrassed.

  5. Spoonman

    NBC fucked up.

  6. kristin

    love conan

  7. PunkJr

    Good on him for standing up for what he believes in & not rolling over.

  8. Sara

    Nome King – he really is.

  9. gotmilk?

    fuck jay leno. i don’t get why they’re trying to accommodate some has-been.

  10. Justin

    Thank Jebus! Screw NBC and that unfunny bastard Leno.

  11. Boo you

    He was to the point in a nice way..

  12. Pig Vomit

    #5 NBC exes ALWAYS Fuk up

  13. Red

    I love Conan.
    I have a feeling Leno wanted to “try out” primetime and got his feelings hurt when realized no one cares. Now he wants his old show back.

  14. Jay's chin

    Perfectly worded. Eat it Leno.

  15. Total Class Act! NBC is making a huge mistake! Make Leno go away!

  16. y3n0

    Classy reply to the dick move that NBC did.

  17. DannyE

    YES!!! GO CONAN!!

  18. DannyE

    YES!!! GO CONAN!!

  19. DannyE

    YES!!! GO CONAN!!

  20. Laika

    Good for him. Keeps his integrity and with the hopeful backlash, another network will pick him up and utilize him properly.

  21. Willie Dixon

    Fck Jay Leno. Fck Jerry Seinfeld. Neither of them could monolgue themselves out of a high school.

    Long live Dave and Conan.

  22. IKE

    Leno and Conan kinda seem like they’re spoiled, but RIGHT. Sure, it’s a business and they should just man-up and deal with the shift, but c’mon NBC, get your shit together and don’t make the shift to begin with.
    NBC is faltering majorly. You just know that there are MORE stupid moves to come….until they start making changes in the front office.

  23. EWWWWWWW

    I’ve heard his people are talking to Fox. FUCK YES, CONAN!!!! I’m glad he’s not some little bitch like Leno who doesn’t care who he knocks down to get what he wants. This just proves what kind of person Conan is and what kind of person Leno is. I bet Leno has a teeny, tiny little penis.

  24. JohnnyBGood

    Always been a fan of Conan. Leno sucks but this is not his fault. NBC is a piece of shit network.

    Have you guys watched Fallon’s show? He he has top notch music talent and at least he’s trying to push the envelope regards the old boring standard late show format.

  25. glace neuf

    love conan, that was a good read. and superfish, THANK YOU for the hard hitting journalism and providing those extra links! patton oswalt’s clip was great, as was the other material. much appreciated!

  26. Skank

    Watching my grandparents fist each other is better that watching Leno.

  27. UglyGirl

    good for conan. classy all the way. nbc and leno are sucking pandering douches. and i agree, fuck seinfeld who’s so busy trying to promo his show that he sold out conan.

  28. Vas Deferens

    Conan is the best and is THE MAN!

    How can anyone think that Jay Leno is funny? Jay Leno really, really sucks.

  29. bob the druid

    Wonder if Conan called Letterman before he decided, just like Letterman called Carson before he made is decision to leave NBC.

    I hope Fallon realizes that he may never get a shot at the Tonight Show, as long as Leno is there…

  30. Erin

    He is exactly right….Good for you Conan!

  31. Erin

    He is exactly right….Good for you Conan!

  32. doug

    Nicely worded Coco… I love the hair comment at the end. Classic Conan

  33. Kate

    Well done Conan!

    I am shocked people still find Leno funny. RETIRE ALREADY!

  34. EEEEEleeeee

    Class act all the way! Good for him

  35. Janes

    good for you conan

  36. Jethro

    First of all no one can top Carson. NBC screwed up by giving the the show to Leno instead of Letterman. NBC made a bad decision with the Leno Show and making another bad choice with this Leno/O’Brien decision. Seems like NBC is batting 1000.

    BTW, I really don’t care for Leno, O’Brien, Letterman or Fallon. Craig Ferguson is the man.

  37. Brian Wallace

    Listen. You guys are crazy. It’s nice to like Conan O’ Brien because he’s younger and more your generation but he just tries too hard. He’s like Dane Cook. Conan and Letterman are doing the same tired shtick they’ve done for the last fifteen years. At least Leno TRIED something. It’s a radical concept, I know. Trying something new. “Long live Dave and Conan!” Really? REALLY, “Willie Dixon”? Please point the genius level of entertainment that Conan and David Letterman provide. Please. I’m beggin you. Please tell me the fresh comedic material they have come up with. Hey, Conan’s gonna kick ass over there at FOX! They have such a great track record! Get over yourselves, people. Move away from the keyboard, get some fresh air and live your life. You’re probably the same people who think “The Simpson” STILL HAS IT! AS FUNNY AS IT EVER WAS!

  38. Brian Wallace

    Listen. You guys are crazy. It’s nice to like Conan O’ Brien because he’s younger and more your generation but he just tries too hard. He’s like Dane Cook. Conan and Letterman are doing the same tired shtick they’ve done for the last fifteen years. At least Leno TRIED something. It’s a radical concept, I know. Trying something new. “Long live Dave and Conan!” Really? REALLY, “Willie Dixon”? Please point the genius level of entertainment that Conan and David Letterman provide. Please. I’m beggin you. Please tell me the fresh comedic material they have come up with. Hey, Conan’s gonna kick ass over there at FOX! They have such a great track record! Get over yourselves, people. Move away from the keyboard, get some fresh air and live your life. You’re probably the same people who think “The Simpson” STILL HAS IT! AS FUNNY AS IT EVER WAS!

  39. Kim

    Awesome, Conan. Fucking awesome

  40. Rupert

    Craig Ferguson > Conan O’Brien

  41. Robin Webb

    My understanding of this whole situation was that NBC pushed Leno out to put in Conan & when Jay wanted to leave NBC, decided to give him the primetime slot, to keep him. I think both Jay & Conan are being screwed by NBC.

  42. cate

    Conan is God. Suck it, NBC and Leno.

    Leno is such a douchebag.

  43. RB

    I’m a Conan guy myself, but if the guy just had DECENT ratings he wouldn’t be in this spot. He can complain about his lead in all he wants but in the end he owns what they do at 11:30

    Good luck Conan! May the Fox be with you!

  44. WHAT ?

    Why don’t NBC Admit they F**Ked up by putting this Dorky loser on the Tonight Show.
    They should fire his A** and put Jay leno back where he belongs as host of the Tonight Show.
    Since conan took over The Tonight show has lost 53% of it’s viewers from when Jay Was Host. Also The Ratings for Conan In Nov 2009 were the lowest the Tonight Show Has Had in 15 Years.

  45. Warren Piece

    @ Rupert (#40)

    Ferguson is BY FAR THE funniest host that has ever lived. Carson a close second (though if you factor in the eras, they would tie). The man is simply amazing, genuine, quick, smart and seems like he really cares.

    +10 for you, Sir.

  46. WHAT ?

    Why don’t NBC Admit they F**Ked up by putting this Dorky loser on the Tonight Show.
    They should fire his A** and put Jay leno back where he belongs as host of the Tonight Show.
    Since conan took over The Tonight show has lost 53% of it’s viewers from when Jay Was Host. Also The Ratings for Conan In Nov 2009 were the lowest the Tonight Show Has Had in 15 Years.

  47. WHAT ?

    Why don’t NBC Admit they F**Ked up by putting this Dorky loser on the Tonight Show.
    They should fire his A** and put Jay leno back where he belongs as host of the Tonight Show.
    Since conan took over The Tonight show has lost 53% of it’s viewers from when Jay Was Host. Also The Ratings for Conan In Nov 2009 were the lowest the Tonight Show Has Had in 15 Years.

  48. emmeyeareeyeayeem

    Conan Is A Sexy Man Who Deserves Our Support:

    http://www.facebook.com/#/pages/Save-Conan/242401513755?ref=ts

  49. mike miller

    Brian Wallace FUCK OFF AND GET A CLUE!

  50. DKNY

    Leno – unfunny
    Conan – funny
    Letterman – funniest

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