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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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It does appear that the email is authentic after all. So what was their "Leno problem"? It seems the problem was that they were going to take the host of the Tonight Show out who had kept it #1 for 14 years. And why? Because O'Brien was demanding to have it. There was no justification for it other than O'Brien wanted it.

I'm sure if was just as painful to Jay to leave Tonight Show as it has been for O'Brien probably even more so because it was totally unfair to Jay. The difference is that Jay left with dignity and professionalism even though what NBC offered him instead was not want he wanted. The other difference O'Brien is choosing to quit and was not forced out yet he's the on throwing an ongoing public fit.

1709 days ago




Silverman Co., The Fred

Unredacted with “Foxit PDF Editor"

1709 days ago


JAY LENO will bring in millions of viewer. You will see.

the tonight show has never the same when Leno left.

Conans viewers were only he and his family watching.

Leno will ALWAYS be on top of the ratings.

As far as you Leno haters , who the f--- cares.

1709 days ago


Once the dust settles, everything will return back to normal and Leno will be #1 again and Coco will fade into obscurity. He will end up on one of those "where are they now?" features.

1709 days ago


One thing is for sure. Leno passed the Tonight Show Torch on to Conan but shamelessly took it back. He didn`t care to throw Conan under the bus.
Leno has no class.

1709 days ago


you should use jumpino for comments instead of this crap, tmz

1709 days ago


Why would anyone want to watch Leno? he is ugly and fat, he has no neck and he is not funny and most of all he is a back-stabber SOB. The last thing I want to watch before going to bed is Leno.

1709 days ago


is any of this RELEVANT now?

ding dong the ginger's gone

1709 days ago


All I have to say is, Jay Leno rocks!!!

Please support Jay Leno by visiting

Also, don't forget to sign the petition for the same cause at

1709 days ago


I'm astounded at the arrogance of these senile, greedy, old white men (I'm white too) that "run" television, thinking they can make a ton of money with piss-poor programming. NBC needs to fire everyone at the top and start over.

1709 days ago


The so called 'young/hip' Conan fans, who are actaully in their 40's are all whining. But, it is because hip/young slackers under 30 are on their iPhones, iPods, and laptops texting 'im eating a bagel' or watching YouTube or TMZ Live, instead of Conan at 1130. No ratings = no profit = off the air.

Conan is 46, not 'young' at all. As if he is still 30. Sick of hearing about how 'young' he is supposedly, but he's less then 15 years below Jay and Dave, who is 63!

Most of the Leno bashing is upper class yuppies with entitlement getting hand me downs from 'daddy' [Conan thinking he deserves Tonite Show], hating on working class [Jay worked his way up, no hand outs]

1709 days ago


I wish Harvey would replace the voice-over guy, the announcer on the Fox-show, which is mostly good.

He and the spokesperson for CARLS JR. cheeseburgers need to be cordoned off from the rest of us.

The TMZ dude, not that you asked, is grating and often makes me turn the show either or down.

Couldn't we have Paris Hilton or a more pleasing voice.

Also - I wish Harvey would do an investigation into L.A.-based writing instructors/writing programs that claim to have all of the answers, like some of these dudes at UCLA-Extension:

One such self-professed expert, and in Burbank, opined that sequels don't work and/or aren't a good idea to write because of this, this and that.

He's never had anything produced and (says) left the USC film school program after a year - I don't want to embarrass the firm that fronts him they produce Academy-Award-winning writing software.

A like expert up at UCLA Extension once pushed and vented his views on anything and everything Hollywood - the fact that he had one script produced - back in the 1940's - made him an expert on writing, Hollywood and grapes that are sour.

Since TMZ nailed Fred Silverman for properties tied to him and that he personally/allegedly green-lit -

Couldn't Harvey hire a unit that goes out and shoots groups, executives or "writing instructors" that profess expertise?

Harvey's a lawyer - he could get them off if Harvey so chose.

There is NO such expertise - the good Execs at Warner Brothers will be the first ones to tell you, "No one knows a thing."

"You roll the dice and if you're lucky snake-eyes come up."

Sorry about the rant the Silverman thing opened up an old wound - next time I'll see a therapist - sorry don't send a photog out.


1709 days ago


Jay Leno is a greedy a$$hole, that's why he won't leave. And he is close friends with Schwazenegger, who has completely screwed the state of California... what does that say about Leno, hanging out with this crooked governor? Leno needs to go crawl in a hole with his buttt-buddy Ahnold, the dooshe-bag.

1709 days ago


Look, enough about all this. Rachel Ukatel, the assumed husband stealer whore Joy Bayhar called her but then had to retract her alleged statement if she didn't want to get sued, is about to have a birthday thrown for herself. Maybe, the alleged husband stealer whore will invite Tiger to be her guest of honor, as Tiger wouldn't be able to resist.

1709 days ago


The funniest thing about this is everyone doing their Leno imitations in Leno's high, speech-impedimented twang, LMAO - man, Leno is one silly-assed fother mucker

1709 days ago
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