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'The Tonight Show' with Jay Leno ... The Sequel

1/12/2010 9:15 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Jay LenoJay Leno will get his one-hour show back, and it will be called "The Tonight Show".... sources tell TMZ.

We're told NBC honchos still have to sit down with Jay's rep and put the finishing touches on a new deal, but NBC has signed off on the plan if Conan O'Brien leaves ... and Conan has made it clear that he's leaving the network, and not on good terms.

O'Brien took several cheap shots at Leno in his blistering letter, denigrating Leno's show as a "comedy program."

Sources tell TMZ Jay and Conan have not spoken with each other since NBC announced the switch.

It's looking increasingly like Conan may be making a deal with Fox for a late night show from 11:00 PM to midnight.

194 COMMENTS

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121.

Alex    

Good for Conan! I admire his integrity for not taking it and standing up for himself...with much class and dignity too! I remember years ago when NBC dumped Jane Pauley for Katie Curick. I never watched the Today Show while Katie was part of it. Now I won't watch Jay Leno either. I guess NBC is just like the rest of the employers in the US that don't give a damn about their employees. Someday the tables will turn!

1655 days ago
122.

curious1    

How about everybody takes a nap at 11:30 and wait for the real funny guy, Craig Ferguson, at 12:30!

1655 days ago
123.

Ty    

Sigh, 15+ years ago it was a different time. Broadcast TV was the the king, cable barely had 20-30 channels, and people thought dial up internet access was cool, lol. People have way too many options for entertainment today. No network is going to wait two years after the ratings fall Conan had to wait and see if he will eventually "catch on". As I said before, Conan had 5-6 years to prepare for the tonight show and do something original and all I saw was a more toned down version of Late Night from day one.

The thing is, one does not always need blatantly obvious evidence. One can read the tea leaves if you look beneath the surface a little. Ask yourself, if you were 54 with plenty of leg, enjoy what you're doing, you're the host of one the longest running and well regarded franchises and you're #1 in your timeslot, why would you just up and decide to let that go? Look at Conan's statement where he says he passed up more lucrative offers to host Tonight. Why would he pass up a better timeslot and more money? It's because at the time NBC considered Conan to be the future and they didn't want him to leave for another Network so they screwed over Jay and offered him Tonight. To appease Jay and let him save face they worked it out so there would be a lengthy transition period. I could see it in his body language when he announced that he was stepping down in 5 years that he wasn't doing it willingly.

1655 days ago
124.

karma    

153. Sorry if someone has already commented on this, but I agree with Nikki Finke. I don't think Conan is stepping down. I think the letter was telling NBC that they'll have to fire him if they want him to leave. That's why his reps and NBC brass were talking this afternoon.
**155. How about everybody takes a nap at 11:30 and wait for the real funny guy, Craig Ferguson, at 12:30!

I agree, Ferguson rocks. I also think Conan should make NBC fire him if they want him to go or want him to change his times. Never quit a job, that is what they want him to do.

1655 days ago
125.

SG    

You guys at TMZ are total idiots. Conan's statement was nothing but the truth and respectful. I didn't know calling a comedy program "a comedy program" was an insult. Team Conan forever!

1655 days ago
126.

PolarBear    

Well TMZ always shoots off its mouth before the facts are in, but it nevertheless looks like Conan is being given a rare opportunity to take command of his own creative future here. He is the higher talent amongst many, as a previous writer for Letterman, his own show host, taking on the Tonight Show and drawing great credit all along the way. Considering how much of a tangled web of horse patoot NBC's programming directors seem to be, I'd say that while it's a stomach mangler to leave the Tonight Show, Conan has taken the higher road here and for fans of premium talent late evening talk/variety/entertainment shows, we can only hope that Conan strikes a deal with other networks and lands something really lucrative. Perhaps he should be his own production company that strikes a deal, rather than a show host only. Thinking Letterman here. More control, but really, the value now of having a buffer against moronic, preppy corporate programming departments that can't figure hockey from horse feathers, is of prime concern. The talent deserves consideration and the audience deserves consideration. OVERALL, I think Conan has the reserves, talent, aspirations, wide awareness, respect for the audience and for his field of occupation to make the most of this opportunity, no matter how TOTALLY WEIRD NBC IS MAKING IT ALL AT THIS POINT. It might be one thing to have an insult comic dog on your side, but when you have a polar bear on your side, good times arrive quickly! THIS IS CONAN'S FINEST HOUR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

1655 days ago
127.

Hates Conan like crap    

Prediction:

Fox will hire Conan and put him on at 11. Within 6 months he will be canceled due to low ratings.

One only has to look at The Chevy Chase Show to see I will be correct.

Conan sucks!

1655 days ago
128.

sandi    

Why so much anger with Jay?? People.....NOBODY WAS WATCHING CONAN AND HE WAS HORRIBLE. HE WAS LOSING MORE PEOPLE WEEK AFTER WEEK. CONAN IS NOT FUNNY.

Thank God NBC came to their senses. Can't wait to see Jay back at The Tonight Show at 11:35 pm for a full hour.

1655 days ago
129.

PolarBear    

A broiling subtext to all of this is that FACT that nobody in their right mind at this point would want to compete in the time slot used by Craig Ferguson. Craig's too strong of a presence. The battle is for time periods previous to that only. Way to go, Craig! Oh, and Craig isn't on NBC, ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

1655 days ago
130.

Tara    

Lets see, they kicked Johnny off before he was ready to leave (no fault of Jay) Then they kicked off Jay at the top of his game, just like Johnny.. Only Jay stuck around and now they see the error of their ways. I feel sorry for Conan but NONE of this is Jays fault, it's NBC. I've read a few comments that seem to be blaming Jay for
this mess... Johnny-Jay nor Conan didn't deserve what happened to them.

Imagine what inner strength it took for Jay to stay on NBC and come on before The Tonight Show... He's a classy guy! He was
totally shafted and yet he stayed.

I like Conan but I have to confess I stopped watching Conan after a several shows of the Tonight Show.. I missed Jay and I want him
back.

Just my humble opinion...

1655 days ago
131.

moveover    

Conan on Fox will be the beginning of the end for his on-air career. He should have never been put in front of the camera in the late night slot and after he now gets buried in the ratings by all the others .... he will soon fade into oblivion.

1655 days ago
132.

Ryan    

Jay Leno is washed up and terrible! I seriously hope Fox signs a deal with Conan. He did nothing wrong and is being bent over by NBC. Glad he is standing up for himself.

Boo NBC! Double Boo Chin Guy errr Jay

1655 days ago
133.

Tara    

Bet David Letterman is glad he didn't get the Tonight Show gig or he would be the one getting kicked off.. He's got the best deal
all around with his show. =) He's a master at his craft and no one can kick him off for being old or for any reason... Rock on David!

1655 days ago
134.

Flake    

I don't get it. Didn't Jay announce his retirement one year before he left and now he wants to come back? Conan is getting the shaft. Conan should take the money and move to Fox 11.

1655 days ago
135.

O-Dog2009    

Conan has no beef w/Jay Leno. NBC @#$%^ed all of this up!!!! Leno is played out(he's dissing NBC also)! Conan is probably gonna get paid in full by Rupert and if Comcast hasn't or still does buy NBC, everyone except Jimmy Fallon is getting dropped(he better not)!!!

1655 days ago
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