Photo Credit: Mitchell Haaseth, NBC Photo
The time-slot shuffle at NBC has suddenly become a turf war between two of TV's favorite late-night hosts. After the network confirmed Sunday that it will yank its primetime gamble, The Jay Leno Show, from its 10 p.m. five-nights-a-week time slot next month, word spread through Hollywood that Jay Leno would be given a nightly half-hour show at 11:35 p.m., bumping The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien to 12:05 p.m.
Well, Conan O'Brien is not taking this one lying down. In a statement on Tuesday that was widely praised for both its candor and chutzpah, the veteran TV personality (host of Late Night with Conan O'Brien from 1993-2009, and host of The Tonight Show since June) vehemently objected to NBC's plan. And while late-night hosts at other networks are cracking jokes about the brouhaha, the battle is destined to become a very rocky chapter in the Tonight Show franchise's history.
But here's the thing: if O'Brien walks (and bear in mind, if he does, he could forfeit millions for voiding his contract, which reportedly never guaranteed him a specific Tonight Show time slot), what's next? As if the debacle hasn't been surreal enough, imagine if Leno were re-installed as host of The Tonight Show, the network crown jewel he so grandly retired from less than a year ago. With high-profile sparring like this, who needs scripted dramas?
Do you think that NBC is being unfair to Conan O'Brien? Chime in below!