Conan’s Not Doin Anymore Work for NBC

The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien lasted 7 strong months, and the series finale was last night. I can safely say with Jay hosting the Tonight Show I will be getting more sleep, since I won’t be staying up to watch late night TV!  It’s truly sad to see my favorite late night host get ousted the way he did, but I guess that was NBC’s mistake to make. His multi-million dollar settlement makes me not feel extremely bad for him, since he won’t really need to look for work for the rest of his life, but the way it went down should have gone differently. I hope he does get back in the TV talk show game, after it’s all said and done. I’d love to see him jump over to Fox, Comedy Central, or any other station for that matter. I’d probably even watch Conando on the Telemundo channel if that’s what ended up happening to him. I’m still not 100% clear on what happened, but it sounds like Conan wasn’t getting the ratings that NBC wanted from the show. They decided to bump him time slots, and well, we know the rest of the story. Who knows, maybe that was just a cover up for the real story or my conspiracy theory, which is that NBC’s medical staff thought the concussion he suffered was just too much for him to come back from, so they gave him the Stephon Marbury treatment benching him indefinitely and paying him. There’s probably a lot of people like my grandma that think Jay is better, but speaking for my generation, Conan is the pasty white Jordan of late night talk shows. I’m REALLY glad I made the trip to Universal lot to see at least one of his shows being taped while it was around.

NBC gave Johnny Carson the hosting gig for 30 years, and Leno got a 17 year run (plus whatever he adds on in his second term). Conan bizarrely only got 7 months to prove himself, and build a fan base. Most of my generation doesn’t really remember Carson, and pretty much only saw Leno at the helm of the Tonight Show. I feel like Conan’s comedy is geared much more towards my generation, and if NBC gave him adequate time, he would have gained enough of a following to satisfy the execs as we got older.

MCeezy had a good analogy of why our generation isn’t all that into Leno saying “Jay is more like the drunk Uncle that keeps telling jokes, and you laugh because they’re mildly funny, but it’s still older people humor.”

NBC went for the quick fix reacting hastily to Conan’s less than impressive ratings, and that reaction was bringing Leno back to his old throne that he seemed to desperately miss. Leno returning to the Tonight Show might raise NBC’s ratings, but at what cost? They no longer have a clear successor once Jay ultimately is too old to do the job. Noway Jimmy Fallon gets the gig, he’s just not the right personality or all that funny in general. Do people really buy Jay’s nice guy image anymore? I for one, won’t watch his show out of spite. I don’t buy that he didn’t have anything to do with pushing Conan off the air either. Back in 1992, you might remember when Conan started his run with NBC, Jay forced another Late Night talk show host out, David Letterman. Dave seems to have done pretty well for himself as he moved to CBS, but in these past few weeks we’ve seen that Dave is indeed still bitter about his ending with NBC. So Coco don’t be discouraged, Jay has taken away more than one job in his rein in late night TV, and it seems to have worked itself out pretty well. Let’s just hope it’s the last one! It’s good he got to throw one hell of an after party last night, I would love to toss a few Jameson’s back with him!

About chappy81

I'm a dude that just hit 30 years old. Pretty much like everything that is funny, insightful, and has to do with the Warriors, A's, and Raiders. View all posts by chappy81

12 responses to “Conan’s Not Doin Anymore Work for NBC

  • Hungover Guy

    As much as I can understand right now, I think you’re right!

  • tophatal


    With the tens of millions of dollars that NBC is known to have lost because of their ‘sheer naivete’ and ‘stupidity’ how else could this have all turned out ?

    From the beginning this was a calculated risk that most insiders were of the opinion knew was going to end up rather badly for NBC. It’s not as if either Leno or O’Brien were all that funny to begin with. Granted they’ve got their own loyal band of followers . But for the investment being made by the network the returns on both were extraordinarily meager. Their network President of programming is a complete a_s for going down this route ! It just goes to show how dire their situation is at present. They’re the #4 broadcast network behind the likes of CBS , ABC and Fox .

    To make matters worse they no longer have a show that’s consistently ranked in the top 10 of the Nielsens’ ratings. That’s how bad it has become for them. And that is given the fact that the network is in the process of being sold by GE (parent company) to cable outlet Comcast

    This isn’t so much to do with Leno but the more the blunder made by NBC in wanting the original change to begin with and the countless millions it has lost them. From the outset Leno had stated that he didn’t want to go to an earlier evening time slot. And when the affiliates of NBC began to let them know how bad not only Leno was ‘tanking’ but also O’Brien. They in essence had no other choice but to ‘pull the plug’ on the whole idiotic experiment.

    Alan Parkins

  • Furluge


    “In 2009, I’ll be 59 years-old and will have had this dream job for 17 years,” Leno said in a statement. “When I signed my new contract, I felt that the timing was right to plan for my successor, and there is no one more qualified than Conan. Plus, I promised [my wife] Mavis I would take her out for dinner before I turned 60.”


    Jay was always more than just the poor shlub that got moved around by his network, he’s proven to be the man sneaking about and manipulating everything to reverse a choice he made to retire in 2009. It’s something you can see here and here.

    Also this 1992 NY Times article shows a situation that is an exact mirror image to this one in which 7 months after Leno started the Tonight Show NBC threatened to bump him back to the Late Night show spot and put David Letterman on the Tonight Show. Good think for Jay Letterman or Carson wasn’t hanging around the lobby saying, “Yeah I’ll be here if you need me.” like Leno was when Conan got his gig.

  • Furluge

    Whoops, my citation for the blockquote didn’t appear. That blockquote is from an interview with Leno in Entertainment Weekly on Sep 27, 2004. If you could edit that into that post and delete this one that’d be great. 🙂

  • tophatal


    Neither of these two guys are all that funny to begin . They’re p_ss poor when compared to the likes of Paul Mooney Dave Chappelle and even a guy like Johnathan Winters in his prime.

    At the time no doubt made that statement I wonder whether or not he and Conan had shared brief but revealing Brokeback moment. ’cause obviously since then things have gone downhill between the two.

    Alan Parkins

    Alan Parkins /

    • Furluge

      I found Dave Chappelle pretty funny, but in my ranking I’d prefer Chris Rock, Gabriel Iglesias, or John Pinette to him. (I really like my standup comedy.) Maybe it’s because I’m white, but I never really found Paul Mooney funny, and to be honest I thought he was kind of insulting. I can’t really talk about John because he’s a bit before my time.

      Regardless though, Conan’s a comedian who I’ve enjoyed watching on TV for years. I talk about it on my blog. Back from the days of being a teenager and staying up late to watch MST3K and Late Night. I also enjoy the fact that he makes interviews interesting. Simply put Conan makes the late night talk show format palatable to me. Normally if it’s not someone like him on then I’ll switch it off after the opening monologue.

      • tophatal


        Rock is immensely funny but it was guys like Paul Mooney who set the stage for the likes of the Wayans to become part of the arena of emerging black comics. People seem to forget the Mooney earned his ‘chops’ as a writer for Richard Pryor and then went to work with Keenan Ivory Wayans on the Fox hit sketch show ‘In Living Color’.

        Boy am I glad that the Brett Favre circus got upended in the Superdome ! That final interception finally put to rest any chance the Vikings had of winning the game. The Saints are deserving of the win and the right to meet the Colts in the Superbowl (SB XLIV).

        Alan Parkins aka tophatal – expat Brit

  • tophatal

    chappy 81

    Rumor has it that things are so bad at NBC they’re now thinking of buying programming from Al-Jazeera . Furthermore they’ll start to run broadcasts of taping of Bin-Laden’s numerous speeches attacking the US as a way of eliciting viewership on the network.

    Alan Parkins

  • sportsguyby

    I’ve grown up with Conan tucking me in at night with his comedy, and now he’s no longer on (hopefully for now) … he’s not only my favorite talk show host, but one of my favorite people ever!

    F Leno. I agree with you Chappy, at least I will be sleeping earlier during the week.

  • tophatal



    Both Conan and Leno are so passe’ that this subject isn’t any longer relevant. NBC and as a network has become ‘unimaginative’, ‘stale’ and ‘archaic’! It’s programs are to sterile uncreative and the writing can best described as puerile. And one wonders why they’re ‘#4’ amongst the broadcast networks ?

    NBC network program Chief Jess Gaspin is being overpaid and doing a pi_s poor job to begin with. He much like his predecessor Jeff Zucker are still stuck in the dark ages. And now for two weeks in February you’re going to have to put up with the Vancouver Winter Olympics where the network stands to lose its shirt financially to the tune of $ 250 million. Is it any wonder that GE is bailing out on the company and selling it ?

    Alan Parkins

  • Conan Doin Late Night Again « Doin Work

    […] his late night throne. We here at Doin Work have a special connection to Conando, because he is our generation’s best late night show host. Conan O’Brien has agreed to terms with TBS, and will be starting his late night show in November […]

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