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Conan O'Brien -- Sayonara NBC

1/12/2010 5:25 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Conan O'Brien Telegraphs Exit from NBCConan O'Brien has made it crystal clear -- he's leaving NBC.

O'Brien just released a candid letter to the "People of Earth," in which he addresses his "personal disappointment" in losing the show. Conan adds, "The Tonight Show at 12:05 simply isn't The Tonight Show."

Regarding the time shift, Conan states, "I cannot participate in what I honestly believe is its destruction."

And since he won't take part in a 12:05 Tonight Show -- Conan's only left with one real option ...get outta Dodge.

Conan also rips NBC, claiming the network promised him the opportunity to build a lasting audience, but "sadly, we were never given that chance."

He also reveals that he has not received an offer to work for another network.

But the key to the whole letter is towards the end, where Conan basically says he's taking his show to another network -- one who "values our work."

NBC had no comment about Conan's letter.

Click HERE to read the letter in its entirety.

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.




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Conan is a classy guy and MUCH more funny than Leno. He worked on the late show since 1993 to earn this chance and wasn't given the time or the prime time support. I hope to see him at Fox if NBC doesn't cave. Leno SUCKS.

1745 days ago


Class Act

1745 days ago


Get rid of Leno and keep the real talent on...Conan!!

1745 days ago

JD Santini    

Shouldn't the title of this be "Conan: I DON'T Want to Work for NBC"? Am I missing something here?!

1745 days ago


He could not have written a better statement. Good Job Conan.

1745 days ago


Conan crystalized the issue and the destructive intent by the programming execs at NBC. Are they so ignorant, or just too young to have any respect for the franchise.

Wake up Gaspin! You're shooting yourself in the foot. Leno should move on.

1745 days ago

Allen Kesselschmidt    

I want Conan to stay at 11:35 and be given the same chance Jay Leno was given when he took over the tonight show from Carson. The main reason that Letterman was able to boost his rating was the curiosity surrounding his affairs. Conan represents a younger demographic and it is that demographic that in the long run will help NBC.

1745 days ago


Conan is such a class act!! I hope people boycott NBC as a whole. They have screwed ALL of these hosts, but especially Conan. Leno will do no better in his old slot than he has done on prime time. People are just not interested in him any longer. Hope Conan ends up the winner in this ridiculous circus NBC has created.

1745 days ago


thats right dont let them treat you like a bytch.

1745 days ago

Haywood Jablome    

I can't wait to get home so my wife can toss my salad! I ate tacos for lunch, She is in for a real treat!

1745 days ago


what a classy guy. hope you get another opportunity elsewhere soon.

1745 days ago


I like Leno and I don't mind his 10:00 show either but I really feel like Conan is getting the shaft.

1745 days ago


Conan is a class act. I am sure he will no only rebound but excell in what ever he does. I will follow him where ever he goes.

1745 days ago


What's up with the title of this article? More like: NBC Gave Me The Shaft And I'm Considering Leaving

1745 days ago


Such a great guy! NBC has made a lot of terrible mistakes and what it has done to Conan is the last straw. I will no longer support the network at all. They are horrible people and Leno is one of them.

1745 days ago
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