Late Night with Conan O'Brien, 12:35am, NBC
Tonight, after 16 years at the helm of NBC's Late Night, Conan O'Brien says his bittersweet goodbyes and eases into the much-coveted Tonight Show timeslot. Even though he's not going away for good, it could be an emotional night for Conan. In fact, when the moment comes, Conan admits he may end up "crying like a baby."
He's not the only one. I've had the same feeling ever since NBC (aka "The Talk Show Network") announced that the man Conan is replacing, one Mr. Jay Leno, will be getting a nightly 10pm slot, chewing up 5 hours per week once occupied by original, scripted programming. The Jay Leno Show, which premieres in September, will probably be much like Leno's current Tonight Show gig, except they will "lose the desk," NBC President Jeff Zucker tells us. Oh, well okay then. If they're losing the desk, that'll make Leno funnier.
But back to the redhead. Conan's new Tonight Show begins June 1 and I'm expecting a vast improvement. (Can you tell I'm not a Leno fan? I have nothing against him personally, I just find him very corny and unfunny. But it was a "live and let live" thing till he stole 5 primetime hours from me.) Conan's decidedly wackier personality could startle some current Tonight Show viewers at first, but he's exciting and energetic, and has great chemistry with guests. He'll be fantastic. Leno was already beating Letterman in the ratings (which I will never ever understand) but if I were Dave, I'd really be worried now.
Taking Conan's place at Late Night is SNL alum Jimmy Fallon, whose show starts March 2 with a huge first guest in Robert DeNiro.
Conan's final show tonight will feature The White Stripes, some surprise guests, and the obligatory montages. This is Must See TV.