Conan Scandal

By: Melissa Fears

The funny man has spoken and according to him he is “going to leave television altogether and work in a classier business with better people, like hard-core porn.” That statement has come after weeks of bickering and fighting between the network and two of its prized money-makers, Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien.

The drama began after the “Jay Leno Show” began to lose its luster, if there ever was one. According to network sources, the network’s pilot development last year was derailed with the disappearance of its 10 p.m. dramas to make room for “The Jay Leno Show,” which was canceled early last week. The network also spent millions on new sets and the launch of both “Tonight” and “Jay Leno” and then had to face ratings down spiraling both at 10 p.m. and 11:35 p.m., which led to revenue loss.

The comedians have had a field day creating jokes on the mini-crisis. Leno pokes fun at the situation saying, “”I left prime time the way I found it … a complete disaster.” Jimmy Kimmel joins the fun by saying, “Listen Jay, Conan and I have children,” he continued on, “all you have to take care of is cars. I mean, we have lives to lead here. You’ve got $800 million. For God’s sakes, leave our shows alone.”

Not too worry for the Conan fans, the flame-colored funny man will get the last laugh with an estimated $40 million payout and will be expected to be free to join another network, possibly right away and by early fall at the latest. The pact also includes sizable severance packages for O’Brien’s longtime executive producer Jeff Ross and the rest of the “Tonight” staff, some of it possibly coming out of O’Brien’s settlement paycheck. O’Brien is expected to tape his final “Tonight Show” on Friday. Jay Leno will return to the “Tonight” desk March 1 after the Winter Olympics.

Fans have been lining the Chicago streets this week to show their support for O’Brien. Similar rallies in L.A. and NYC are scheduled for later this week. The rally of mostly teens and young adults, some wearing orange or sporting red wigs and spray-painted hair, were organized through the Facebook social networking site.

The NBC network and the “Tonight Show” brands have arguably been ruined. The network, in particular, has been framed as clumsy at best and just plain vindictive at worst in its handling of the issue.



One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Ryan Walke on January 26, 2010 at 8:45 am

    Jay Leno is not funny at all… NBC sucks, why they would let Conan take over and then just try to screw with him, it’s annoying. I thought it was very nice of Conan to pay his crew out of his own pocket.


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