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Leno and NBC Strike 1 Hour 'Tonight' Deal

1/14/2010 10:43 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Jay Leno has made a new deal with NBC, which gives him "The Tonight Show" from 11:35 - 12:35 ... sources tell TMZ.



As we first reported, under the contract Jay had been working under, he was guaranteed the 10 PM hour. By moving him to 11:35, NBC was in breach of his contract and needed to negotiate a new deal. That is now done, sources tell TMZ.

So Conan O'Brien is out, and Jay is restored.


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592 COMMENTS

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106.

Brandon B.    

What a joke. I hope it bombs.

1641 days ago
107.

AKR    

I don't know what this big deal is. Jay should have stayed on the Tonight Show at 11:35pm and Conan should have stayed at 12:35am. Conan took Jays job first so what's the big deal if Conan has to move to another slot. That's what he gets!

1641 days ago
108.

Buddy    

What a punk. Show support for Conan at www.LenoTheBarbarian.com

1641 days ago
109.

claudia    

YES LENO IS THE KING OF THE TONIGHT SHOW.... I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY PEOPLE FEEL SORRY FOR CONAN IS NOT LIKE HE'S POOR AND HE'LL BE LEAVING IN THE STREETS THAT'S WHAT HE GETS FOR NOT BEING FUNNY SO BYE BYE COCO YOU SHOULD NOW DO SOAP OPERAS HAHA

1641 days ago
110.

YolkyPalky    

I remember when Jay Leno first took over the Tonight Show from Carson. His interviewing skills were horrible. In fact even today, for a talk-show host his interviewing skills are marginal at best. And now NBC gives Conan only 7 months??? What a joke? It takes time to rebuild and solidify your audience. Again, Leno was horrible in his first years, I bet NBC was even thinking of pulling the plug on him back then! Have a little patience and give Conan the time he deserves, not just half a season, good grief!

Why doesn't NBC move Jay Leno to a half-hour slot AFTER the Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien?? Either that, bow out like a man Jay and start a nightly Vegas show at the Mirage!

1641 days ago
111.

rickyrickrick    

have the executives at NBC been FIRED yet? even Letterman says CEO Zucker is an idiot, i agree with Dave.

1641 days ago
112.

jedlea2002    

Picture this: You're sitting in your office at work, and you're feeling on top of the world. Your production is bringing in by far the most money for the company, hands down. Sure, you're not winning any awards for business creativity, but what's an award mean anyway when you're winning the bottom line? In other words: You're the alpha dog and everyone knows it. One day your boss walks in your office. He tells you he appreciates the job you're doing -- no question, you bring in the most money and eyeballs -- but, sadly, he has to let you go because there's a younger guy that wants your job, and they're afraid to lose him. The younger guy is great at what he does but has no proven track record doing your job. Regardless, you're told that in five years he's getting your position and to not let the door hit you in the a** on the way out. This is what it was like to be Jay Leno in 2004.

Now, instead of sulking, or, even more impressive, not just outright tanking the job, therefore sabotaging the position for his younger, more hip replacement ... Leno excels. He brings in around 5.7 million viewers a night (compared with his eventual replacement O'Brien's roughly 2.9 million viewers). The five years go quickly but, it was agreed upon, even though his rating are the best, he's still losing his job. How is that at all fair to Leno? All he did was host the highest-rated late night talk show and, for his efforts, he was let go. And he hands the show over while still on top. But wait! The NBC executives woke up at the last minute. What if Leno goes to another network and dominates there, too? So, they offer him a 10 p.m. variety show in order to avoid that scenario. This is like, paraphrasing our previous scenario, a top dog sausage employee being given a new job, but instead of in bratwurst-craving Milwaukee, the new position makes him relocate to San Francisco -- one of the healthiest cities in America. There is no way he can match his prior production thanks to different demand. Not only that, his lack of production directly affects his replacement back in Milwaukee, which is bringing the entire company down. It was a no-win situation for everyone involved. Yes, it's the Kobayashi Maru -- and Leno is no James T. Kirk.

From most accounts (i.e. people not named Conan O'Brien or David Letterman) Jay Leno is a pretty nice guy. And, yes, the man completely dumbed down his comedy for the sake of ratings -- no question. But can you look at yourself in the mirror and honestly say that you've never compromised -- even a little bit -- for the sake of your job? Even Letterman and Conan dumbed down their respective shows when they moved to an earlier time slot, just not to the extent that Leno did. In the end, who got the highest ratings? Leno.

There are a lot of rumblings that Leno is behind the scenes of this NBC debacle, pulling the strings like a master puppeteer in order to get his old job back; fair enough, he's done this before in the early 1990s. But, really, that was his former manager Helen Kushnick's doing, who he fired shortly after that debacle. It's hard not to think Leno learned his lesson from that experience. And now we're hearing that Leno might leave NBC, too. Is this posturing? Maybe. But let's assume for a second that he is behind the scenes pulling the strings. Well, what would you be doing right now? That was your show and you loved it. You never wanted to leave, you had the highest ratings and you were forced out by a guy that is now losing to a competitor (Letterman) that you used to mop the floor with. And now YOU'RE the one taking a beating in the press? How is this fair? In your mind, that show is still rightfully yours. You wouldn't at least put up a little bit of a fight for it? Really, it's hard to blame him for having an eff you, I told you so attitude.

No one is ever going to confuse Leno's brand of comedy with anything even bordering on highbrow and he's never going to be the media darling, but, it's undeniable that he pulled in the ratings and, when at 'The Tonight Show,' kept the affiliates happy -- something Conan was not doing and Letterman, when at NBC, didn't care about. He dumbed his show down to reach the wider audience; which, ironically, as the ratings proved, was the smart move. Leno played the game. Leno was winning the game. Who can really blame him for wanting to collect his prize?

Per PopEater
with a "fair and balance" post...
OH...sorry...that's Fox

1641 days ago
113.

Paul    

For those complaining about Conan's "poor" ratings...

1. Go back and look at how many times NBC almost pulled the trigger on Jay when he first took over The Tonight Show. He sucked. His ratings were terrible.

2. Let's talk about lead-ins. When Jay Leno had The Tonight Show, was Jay Leno the lead-in to the local news show that proceeded him? Nope. Anytime NBC wanted to put an established well-performing show in front of the local news--which is what they will do now that Leno is back at The Tonight Show--Conan's ratings would have improved overnight. The local affiliates were screaming about what Leno was doing to their local news ratings. Why do you think Leno was canceled? Local news wasn't the only program suffering from having Leno as a lead-in. Conan was too.

1641 days ago
114.

cindy donaldson    

Why are people mad at Jay ? Conan is out,he said he doesn't want to do the show at 12:05 If you told your boss you didn't want to work at 7:30 because the job was at 7:00 when you took it,what do you think he would tell you ? NBC did screw it up when they took Jay off the tonight show,Jay wanted to stay on,but at the time they were afraid of Conan leaving,so you could say Conan is to blame for this.Let Conan go to Fox or where ever,and let his fans go with him,but please stop this B.S.about Jay.

1641 days ago
115.

Kate    

Why did Leno ever leave the Tonight Show anyway?

1641 days ago
116.

eric    

To the brain dead retards whining about Conan's ratings; NBC divided the audience by keeping Jay on. Having 4 similar talk shows on the same night, 5 days a week is stupid programming. Jay should have been let go after Conan took the Tonight show. NBC shot themselves in the foot. This entire situation was just piss poor management decisions.

1641 days ago
117.

Kim    

Sad sad news for television. I'm a Craig fan, who never cared too much about Conan. However, I'm enjoying his show these last few days and will certainly watch his new show when it turns up. Sadly, many will continue to watch Leno. My parents, who prefer the comedy of Letterman, watch Leno anyways because he makes them fall asleep faster.

1641 days ago
118.

Arlene    

SINCE CONAN IS LEAVING NBC .....I WILL BE LEAVING NBC.....

1641 days ago
119.

Ed    

How ironic it is that Leno fans are using Conan's poor ratings as grounds for removing him.

Leno's ratings when he took over from Carson were even worse. If Leno fans were in charge back then, Leno would have been out after six months.

1641 days ago
120.

LenoSucks    

@Atrina
Get your facts straight. Leno has not always beaten Letterman. Letterman consistently beat Leno in ratings at first and it took Leno well over a year to finally catch up to Dave.

Leno forced out Carson from The Tonight Show and he bowed out graciously and did not whine about it. Leno needs to man up and let Conan have his chance.

1641 days ago
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