Perhaps I am too easily amused, but this is so hilarious to me. Last night's "Jimmy Kimmel Live" presented a short Ken Burns-style documentary on NBC's Late Night Wars of 2009-2010. We even get General Jebediah Jay Leno reading aloud letters to his wife Mavis. The old guy they interview (the "TV watcher") eating the donut really cracked me up.
Like David Letterman, I get up every morning promising myself that I'm finished with this whole Conan O'Brien-Jay Leno mess, but I just can't help myself.
Today's gem is a brilliant computer-animated explanation of the NBC fiasco from a television news organization in Taiwan:
You know I couldn't go a day without posting something about Jay Leno or Conan O'Brien.
Here's a good one. Yesterday in Burbank, hundreds of Conan fans held a support rally (in the rain) outside of Conan's "Tonight Show" studios. Two guys dressed up like Leno and Conan staged a fake street fight. At the end of the video, you'll hear Andy Richter address the fans from the roof of the building, and Conan comes out to wave (there are also reports that Conan had pizzas delivered to the supporters). The fight is funny (and weird).
NBC lawyers worked all weekend finalizing the termination deal for Conan O'Brien.
It's not official yet, but early word is that Conan will receive about $40 million to vacate "The Tonight Show," but when he does take another hosting job, whatever he is paid for that job will be subtracted from the amount NBC owes him. The New York Times is also reporting that Conan will not get all of that $40m, some of it will go to staffers with contracts. The deal is also expected to allow Conan to take a new hosting job right away, or by fall at the latest.
TMZ is reporting that NBC is giving "The Tonight Show" back to Jay Leno. And geezers 'round the world lift their canes and cheer! (Sorry, that was too easy).
NBC is denying the TMZ report, but TMZ has been right about everything else (on this story) so far. NBC also denied last week that they were taking Leno out of primetime right before they announced they were taking him out of primetime. UPDATE: And right on schedule, NBC admits that yes, Leno is planning to return to "The Tonight Show." (Can't. Believe. Anything. They. Say.)
Meanwhile, People Magazine has a source who says that Conan O'Brien will leave the dysfunctional network next week. Conan's last show could be on Friday, January 22, just before a scheduled hiatus. "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" would return to NBC after the Winter Olympics.
NBC has announced the shows which will fill the network's 10pm timeslot once they yank "The Jay Leno" show out of primetime (and after the Winter Olympics end):
The late night world is in turmoil while NBC stews in their own ineptitude, but the beneficiaries (for now, at least) are the viewers. The current late night shows are on fire poking fun at Jay Leno and the Peacock, making it harder than ever to decide who to watch each night before bed.
Perhaps the funniest late night skewering last night came from David Letterman, who knows a little something about getting screwed by NBC. Letterman repeatedly referred to Leno as Jay 'Big Jaw' Leno, and did a pretty hilarious immitation of Leno's high-pitched voice. Jimmy Kimmel was also hilarious, doing his entire show impersonating Leno, and his guest, Chevy Chase, wore a Conan O'Brien wig. Conan's monologue was also funny, telling his audience he would soon be available for childrens parties.
In case you missed the fun, we've pulled together all the good clips from the shows. Just click below to begin watching and laughing.
Conan O'Brien outclassed NBC today when he released a statement saying he will not follow Jay Leno with a 12:05am "Tonight Show" because he believes such a move will "seriously damage" what he believes to be "the greatest television franchise in the history of broadcasting," and because it would not be fair to fellow late night host Jimmy Fallon.
Leno clearly wants to move back into his old 11:35pm slot, but O'Brien is refusing to go along with NBC's plan, opening up the possibility that he may jump to another network. (There is already one unconfirmed report that O'Brien is indeed going to Fox.)
Good for him for standing up to NBC!
His full statement is both funny and sad:
So Leno crashes and burns in primetime and is rewarded with his old slot back? Sure, Conan's ratings at 11:30 haven't been on fire, but they have been respectable -- often beating David Letterman. And after Conan uproots his entire life and moves his family from New York to LA? Way to go, peacock.
UPDATE: The New York Times is confirming that NBC held discussions today with both Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien, and the network is not denying . . .