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Conan, Jay

Forget the Idea Was Mine

1/17/2010 9:30 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

The man who trashed NBC in the NY Times for the whole Jay Leno/Conan O'Brien fiasco actually helped hatch the whole thing in the first place ... according to an email obtained by TMZ.

Conan O'Brien, Jay Leno
Former TV exec Fred Silverman was quoted this weekend saying the "Tonight Show" shakeup was "a corporate embarrassment" and that moving Leno back to 11:35 PM was a "Mickey Mouse scheme."

But TMZ has obtained an email sent by Silverman in 2008 to two top NBC execs in which Fred seemingly concocts the entire plan of moving Jay to 10:00 PM. He pitches the idea as, "Here's a way to solve your Jay Leno problem, improve your primetime ratings, save untold development costs and make a gazillion dollars at the same time." Did any of those things actually happen?

For all you TV newbies -- Fred Silverman is the only person to have ever been in charge of programming at three different networks. He was a legend at CBS and ABC ... but, ironically enough, failed miserably at NBC with such memorable disasters as "Supertrain" and "Hello, Larry."

It's one thing to play Monday Morning Quarterback, but it's a whole other thing when you called the plays.


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Silly people, if you don't care, then simply don't come in and read the story.

I just wish the best for Conan. Hope he does great somewhere else. I have nothing against, Jay, either. They just have the misfortune of working for moronic NBC.

1739 days ago


great work TMZ on this EMAIL, NBC is toast, especially management,LOL. Leno problem 2008, it's 2010. 2 years ago, 720 days ago. this is becoming the mother of all messes, LOL.

1739 days ago


@ Wellington

LMAO - It's called Outlook on plain text. Look it up

1739 days ago


I called it! I knew this was a highly orchestrated publicity stunt from the get-go.
The entertainment industry is sly like that.

1739 days ago

Thomas Xavier Z    

Normally TMZ, in my opinion, is useless trash. For once, however, I am pleased by them. Pretentious idiots like this "Fred" getting roasted, is what I love to see. "Here's how you can make a gazillion dollars"

No, tool, here is how to make a baffoon out of yourself.


1739 days ago


35. @ Wellington

LMAO - It's called Outlook on plain text. Look it up

Posted at 3:15PM on Jan 17th 2010 by dude

Read more:

Thanks, Dude. I believe you. I don't use Outlook.

1739 days ago


Nobody cares. Late night on network is formulaic and boring and nothing more than a way for TV and Film stars to fulfill their PR contractual obligations.
Nobody is watching.
Law and Order re-runs are more entertaining !

1739 days ago


lol you can see the email address by refreshing over and over to make the blackout bar blink XD

1739 days ago


NBC (Nothing but Cons) is just trying to pin THEIR bad decision on Silverman, who came up with the same bad idea they did. One problem pinheads, Silverman didn't have the power to implement his bad idea, they did.

1739 days ago


After looking at the email address and doing a quick search, the email is from Fred Silverman.

1739 days ago


@ hehe
What is the email?

1739 days ago


"Good for a 4 to 5 demo rating? LOL, Jay had a tough time getting over 1.5, the ridiculously low bar that NBC set up for him."

Uhh, the 1.5 is the 18-49, the demo is the overall audience which Jay had as it was over a 5. NBC had projected a 1.5 for 18-49 for Leno which he got.

1739 days ago


14. TMZ! WE DON"T CARE! I hope that enough people will get pissed off and not watch either of them.Posted at 2:19PM on Jan 17th 2010 by Wil

I AGREE! I don't watch NBC at all anyway. They are banned in my house.

1739 days ago


You can remove the black bar. His e-mail address is

1739 days ago

KIDS AT RISK karen lee    

JAY screwed CONAN & NBC’s 10pm viewers – by putting on a lousy, BORING tired old show. JAY’s EGO made him THINK he could replace BELOVED dramas --NOW, he THINKS he can take over from Conan - robbing CONAN's fans.
JAY should retire -- otherwise IF he gets 3-mill viewers, he'll be LUCKY.
He stole Dave's JOB w/DIRTY TRICKS. WHO doesn’t HATE "dirty pool," which Jay's played plenty on NBC. BOTH JAY & NBC deserve what's coming next -- their downfall. Does ANYBODY care what Leno thinks anymore? Nope – he's proved his only interest is HIMSELF – and he’ll be a punch line for DECADES! Nobody likes Back-stabbers.
Jay never had CLASS like Johnny Carson or Letterman; or he’d RETIRE gracefully – Instead of going DOWN w/nbc's sinking ship!
Whatever network gets CONAN gets A GOLD MINE …its execs laughing (at nbc & leno) ALL THE WAY to the bank.
Anytime somebody screws anybody – it’ll be said, "oh, he pulled a LENO" -- look where it got HIM.
Leno is now the MOST HATED (over the hill) MAN in America.

1739 days ago
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