I haven’t mentioned it before because there are much, much more important things going on in the world, but I am a big fan of Conan O’Brien. As such, I was quite unhappy to see what NBC did to him by effectively forcing him out of The Tonight Show to be replaced by former Tonight host Jay Leno. I had nothing against Leno and watched Tonight fairly regularly during his tenure, but O’Brien was definitely much more funny and entertaining. When I was younger I would sit through Leno pretty much just to watch O’Brien after, until I got too old to stay up that late ;-).
Obviously the villain in this whole fiasco was NBC and the executives there that made this idiotic decision. O’Brien might not have as many ‘fans’ as Leno, but they are much more vocal and passionate. Plus, Leno is now ‘damaged goods’ and will likely never regain much of the audience he had before (and he has to really retire sooner or later anyway). I really don’t understand what NBC’s end-game is here. And yes, Leno does deserve some of the blame for this mess. The honorable thing would have been to refuse to return to Tonight out of respect for his colleague.
It took Leno almost two years to win his time-slot on The Tonight Show after he took over (in another NBC debacle) from Johnny Carson. O’Brien deserved at least the same amount of faith and loyalty from NBC that Leno got. Personally, as a matter of principle, I don’t intend to watch Tonight when it returns with Leno, and I’ll follow O’Brien—’CoCo’—to whichever network he ends up on. Supposedly, Fox is already trying to pick him up.