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Leno vs. Conan vs. NBC

The War is On

1/18/2010 9:35 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Conan O'Brien and NBC are at war ... each accusing the other of bad, bad behavior.

Leno vs. Conan vs. NBC -- The War is On
Sources connected to Conan O'Brien tell TMZ NBC honcho Jeff Zucker has been "nasty, arrogant and threatening" in negotiating Conan's out. The Conan people are outraged, saying the blame for the Jay Leno/'ConanO'Brien/"Tonight Show" debacle falls squarely at Zucker's doorstep.

Jay Leno: Click to watchAn NBC spokesperson tells TMZ, as for claims Zucker has been nasty, arrogant and threatening, "There is absolutely no truth to that. It is easy to make false statements under the cloak of anonymity."

We're told Conan is so pissed off at NBC, he told the network he was leaving even though he still doesn't have a place to go -- at least not yet. Sources say Fox still has not made an offer.

An NBC source connected to the negotiations tells TMZ Conan "has acted like a baby" since the network announced the changes. The source claims NBC made $25 mil in profits off "The Tonight Show" the last full calendar year Leno hosted. The source says the projected loss for 2010 had Conan stayed put was $3 - 5 million. So NBC says it's simple math.

We're told the NBC/Conan deal still isn't finalized.

233 COMMENTS

No Avatar
61.

Stella    

Leno is a jerk. As always only old people are going to watch his boring show. People rejected him at 10.

1708 days ago
62.

Dindo    

Who Cares enough about this story !

1708 days ago
63.

Sharona    

Conan has no one but himself to blame. Why is it NBC's fault his ratings suck. That goofy comedy routine he plays was only popular with the real "late night/early morning" crowd that really didn't care how they were amused. You'll get a good payday so just go away Conan. And thanks for screwing up late night tv for everyone.

1708 days ago
64.

Roy    

Nice job on proofing the headline of your posting! Come on TMZ, you can do better than that.

1708 days ago
65.

what a loser    

Lilarose - you're probably some old lady who shops on QVC. You are old and have no taste in television, nor any money to spend with advertisers of The Tonight Show. By the time advertisers figure out the limited spending power and life expectancy of Leno's audience it'll be too late for The Tonight Show and Carson's legacy will be over -- thanks to Zucker, Ebersol and Leno. Let's see how much $$ NBC/Universal is making off of The Tonight show in 5 years -- they're cutting off their nose to spite their face. What kind of strategy is it to make personnel decisions based on keeping talent from going to another network vs. investment in good talent? They've make the decision on Jay because they were fearful of him going somewhere else, and they thought Conan would just go along with the changes. Conan has taught Zucker and team that they aren't omnipotent... actually, impotent is a better word for them.

1708 days ago
66.

popcultured    

I'm beginning to think that the "Leno-hate" on the part of Conan and his people was spin intended to distract from the fact that Conan failed so miserably. Nice to see facts emerging despite the spin.

1708 days ago
67.

sandi    

They can't whine about Conan's ratings all they want but the truth is any show would have suffered in that time slot because of the loss of viewers Leno caused, he drove them away so badly that the affiliates threatened to replace him with other things that people really would watch.
Because of Zucker and that horrid Leno show people had already switched the channel by 10:05 and both local news and Conan paid the price.

Leno should retire as he had announced originally, now he is just the whiney kid who want's to take back something that now belongs to someone else.

I used to watch Leno all the time but not anymore, I will watch Conan just to spite Leno/NBC, at least Conan has shown he has class and has handled this whole mess better than anyone else involved and that's is what has won me over to Team Conan.

1708 days ago
68.

Nancy    

I was never a Conan fan and always a Jay fan but the idiot here is Zucker who obviously did not know who his late night audience actually was. Had he realized what age group watched the most and what type of comedy we preferred he would have gotten this right. Conan is ok - but not for us. My husband and I wrote to NBC to tell them this when they made the first announcement. We told them this would be a mistake but naturally they did their own thing. Now they have lost the money and too bad for them. Next time listen to your viewers. We can make or break you.

1708 days ago
69.

Bobo Frog    

According to Good Housekeeping magazine....Roger C has bad breath, greasy dandruff, and a small wiener.

1708 days ago
70.

ausin    

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1708 days ago
71.

Sloane    

in reference to
44. Conan will die on Fox.

I seriously doubt that will happen.

CBS has the new gem, and Craig Fergerson should be moved against Leno and Letterman. Craig is damn funny, creative and entertaining.

Posted at 2:42AM on Jan 18th 2010 by anthebeatgoeson
----------------------------------------

totally agree -love Craig Ferguson- laugh out loud funny!
but did you notice that his show is owned by WORLDWIDE PANTS

that's Letterman's production company that also owns Everybody Loves Raymond

no way would Letterman ever let Ferguson go on against him-he would lose in the ratings
maybe he thinks when he retires he'll see Craig in his time-slot

but as we've seen-the network execs control that

1708 days ago
72.

Xbox mania    

bahhh!

1708 days ago
73.

Sloane    

people need to get the facts right... to simplify

1) when NBC decided to go with Jay over Letterman to succeed Carson when he chose to retire, Letterman was already a fixture on TV airing after Carson.

Leno was a stand-up comic who sometimes substituted for Johnny's nights off-so did Joan Rivers and a few others
so it naturally took a while for Leno to establish himself and get good ratings

Conan came with a built in audience to the Tonight Show hour but sadly didn't keep the ratings

2) in 2004 when Conan was negotiating with NBC he let it be known that if he wasn't going to host the Tonght Show he'd jump networks.

So NBC renewed his contract agreeing to 2009 as being when he'd get it. That meant that Jay had to agree to step aside (so he didn't decide out of thin air that he just wanted to retire at such a young age with a large following)

Leno graciously went on air discussing how he would "retire" from the show and hand it over to his deserving friend Conan- even had Conan on showing him support and great loyalty to the network that was pushing him out

He purposely did that so that when Conan took over he wouldn't have all negative press and controversy that he experienced years prior.

3) fast forward to 2009 and Leno is consistently beating Letterman in the ratings so NBC, so knowing that Leno would have a great offer from another network and become competition, it dawned on NBC that they had better figure out a way to to keep him and still honor what they negotiated with Conan years before

4) that's when they came up with the idea of Leno in Primetime.
NBC wasn't winning those ratings so they thought it was a worthwhile "experiment"

Leno's ratings were great when you compared them to the other late night audiences-so he held his own very well in that regard
But when you compared his ratings to the dramas on opposite him on the other networks at 10, they weren't as high naturally

Conan's ratings did not live up to hopes and expectations- he kept losing to Letterman

5) it's all about the $$$$
because of NBC trying to keep Conan from leaving in 2004, they sadly created their own domino effect downfall and ensuing disaster and controversy

so people should do some research before they spout off condemning Jay or Conan for the whole debacle

sad that NBC has ended up putting the 2 of them in this position with all the ensuing controversy-there is no villain here-both decent talented guys with different styles appealing to different audiences-that's why the 2 back to back at late night were such a winning combination for NBC

there should be heads rolling over at NBC for such a major screw-up and leaving 2 top talents hanging in the wind

they could at least make an official statement to explain how they got into this mess by trying to keep both of their major talents (in other words the ratings and $$ from the sponsors associated with the 2 shows) with their NBC family!!

1708 days ago
74.

Tiger's Help Sucks Too    

Paid NBC shills are here on TMZ commenting, watch out! They want to inject negative views about Jay.

How to spot a paid shill!
1. Repeated posts that look eerily similar
2. They stick to "talking points" they want to get across, usually find one or two things to attack about the intended target and repat them over and over.
3. Alternating between proper punctuation and poor typing with some misspellings to further the illusion of multiple posters who believe the same thing.

It's all a ploy to get you to buy into their line of thought. They want you to think that 5 or 6 other people like Conan so you should too.

1708 days ago
75.

Michael    

Ratings=Time Slot=Money
Conan's Ratings=Bad=Time Slot Move
We love Conan, but NBC is in the business to make money.
NYC

1708 days ago
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