Last Thursday, NBC executives told me they intended to move the Tonight Show to 12:05 to accommodate the Jay Leno Show at 11:35. For 60 years the Tonight Show has aired immediately following the late local news. I sincerely believe that delaying the Tonight Show into the next day to accommodate another comedy program will seriously damage what I consider to be the greatest franchise in the history of broadcasting. The Tonight Show at 12:05 simply isn't the Tonight Show. Also, if I accept this move I will be knocking the Late Night show, which I inherited from David Letterman and passed on to Jimmy Fallon, out of its long-held time slot. That would hurt the other NBC franchise that I love, and it would be unfair to Jimmy.
So it has come to this: I cannot express in words how much I enjoy hosting this program and what an enormous personal disappointment it is for me to consider losing it. My staff and I have worked unbelievably hard and we are very proud of our contribution to the legacy of The Tonight Show. But I cannot participate in what I honestly believe is its destruction.
Mr. O'Brien's statement is well worth reading in its entirety. All things considered (that is, his shabby treatment by NBC), it is a model of restraint and generosity.
But then, he takes a shot at me directly:
Some people will make the argument that with DVRs and the Internet a time slot doesn't matter. But with the Tonight Show, I believe nothing could matter more.
This is a clear reference to me and my blog. As regular readers know, I wrote in a posting on January 10:
But really, how much longer is the entire idea of "time slots" going to exist anyway? By 2014 DVRs are expected to be in over 50 million homes. Most cable systems have on demand services. At the Consumer Electronics Show this past week, Samsung introduced "apps on your TV"...
Time slots are going to seem so quaint, one day. We'll all be able to tell our kids that way back when, we had these things called "networks" that would "broadcast" shows that we would have to "record" on devices called "DVRs," so we could watch them anytime we wanted thereafter.
Mr. O'Brien is a talented writer and performer. He is responsible for some very funny television bits, on Saturday Night Live, The Simpsons, Late Night, and The Tonight Show. Also, that show he made with Adam West, "Lookwell!," which might be the funniest half-hour of television of the last twenty years. And while I'm gratified that Mr. O'Brien reads my blog (probably every day, and probably while wearing a robe and smoking a fine cigar and drinking cognac, having just stepped out of a refreshing bath), it is disconcerting and I admit a little confusing that he would use such a public venue to take a shot at me.
Conan O'Brien pic source.