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We don’t usually report of stuff like late night TV talk shows, but they’re usually not as entertaining as the past two weeks have been. We’ve known that this week would likely be Conan O’Brien‘s last as host of The Tonight Show, and today details of his exit package from NBC were released. Indeed, Friday will be his last night hosting the show, with guests Tom Hanks, Will Ferrell and Neil Young. Details of Conan’s deal follow. Read More »

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So the late night wars continue and on Thursday night Conan O’Brien dedicated a segment to putting The Tonight Show for sale on Craigslist. The ad is actually online, and can be found under the for sale/wanted > collectibles category in Los Angeles. Titled “4 SALE: BARELY-USED LATE NIGHT TALK SHOW,” Conan’s looking for the best offer, but is also “willing to trade for Coldplay tickets.” You can watch the segment embedded after the jump.

Meanwhile, the Jay Leno Show, which has consistently drawn higher average ratings than the Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien, lost to O’Brien last night as fans are rallying behind Coco. According to The Hollywood Reporter:

Based on preliminary metered-market estimates, on Thursday night O’Brien drew a 1.9 in the adult demo — nearly double his usual average. That’s 27% higher number at 11:35 p.m. than Jay Leno, who drew a 1.5 using the same type of measurement, earned at 10 p.m. NBC research is unsure, but this might be the first time O’Brien has ever beat Leno in their current slots. NBC Universal sports chairman Dick Ebersol may have picked the wrong day to bash O’Brien’s show as “an astounding failure.”

Watch the clip from last night’s show, after the jump.

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A few nights ago Jimmy Kimmel impersonated Jay Leno for an entire episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live. Tonight Kimmel appeared on Leno’s 10 at 10 and launched a few jabs at the former Tonight Show host over rumors that Jay would be replacing Conan O’Brien in the late night spot he gave up only months earlier. Watch the clip, embedded after the jump.
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Update: THR‘s NBC sources are denying the claim, but TMZ has been on top of the good intel on the late night fiasco over the past weeks — so for right now, we don’t know who to believe.

TMZ is now reporting that NBC has signed Jay Leno to a new contract that will give him a 1 hour late night talk show from 11:35pm to 12:35 under the title The Tonight Show. That’s right, looks like Conan O’Brien is out after refusing to move with the Tonight Show to tomorrow, at 12:05 in the morning. With Leno back in his old slot, it appears there is no room for O’Brien on the schedule.

Finke has reported that NBC CEO Jeff Zucker was threatening to “ice” Conan O’Brien, by holding him to a three-and-a-half-year no-compete clause in his contract. Videogum points out that the Internet continues to update Zucker’s Wikipedia page to reflect his “death,” which I find both juvenile, yet funny.

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The ongoing drama between Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, and their NBC overlords reached near-soap operatic levels today when Conan issued a public statement that he won’t continue with the Tonight Show if NBC moved it to a 12:05am time slot. We’ve covered the background of this whole fiasco previously, and I consider that required reading to grasp the full extent of these events. Not only was Conan’s response a calm and rational approach to NBC’s landscape-changing decision to move the Jay Leno show to 11:35pm (he apparently spent all night working on it), it also inspired a maelstrom of social media support for the wronged late night host.

Some excerpts from Conan’s release, along with some choice late night commentary on this whole mess, after the break.

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Jay Leno

[Update: And it's official. Leno will move back to 11:35 p.m. when the Winter Olympics are over at the end of February. Conan's fate is still in flux.]

The LATimes has an interesting piece today chronicling the rise and fall of TV executive Jeff Zucker. Just over half a year ago, Zucker’s decision to move Leno into the 10 p.m. slot on NBC was widely regarded as one of the biggest TV bets we’d ever seen. But while Leno might have technically been profitable, NBC clearly failed to take into account their entire TV ecosystem, as Leno completely decimated the ratings of local affiliates. In fact, my local NBC affiliate, WHDH in Boston, almost refused to air Leno outright, but was eventually cowed into submission. Unfortunately, it now looks like they would have been better off striking out on their own.

With rumors that NBC’s entire prime time lineup will be reshuffled, the cost of the entire Leno debacle might end up being quite high. According to the LATimes, “Some veteran TV executives believe the Leno imbroglio could ultimately cost more than $200 million, including the damage inflicted on stations’ local newscasts, their ad rates and NBC programs, such as ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,’ which lost millions of viewers when its time period was changed. They predicted that it could take years for NBC to rebuild.” (emphasis added) Consider the $200 million number a back-of-the-envelope guess, but I don’t have any problem believing that this whole experiment has been nothing short of a financial disaster.

After the jump, Conan addresses the circulating rumors head on.
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Jay Leno Jokes About Cancellation Rumors

Jay Leno

On The Jay Leno Show tonight, Jay Leno made a few jokes, mostly at NBC‘s expense, in response to rumors that the network would be canceling his talk show after a bout of low ratings. While I’m not normally a fan of Leno, as I believe he’s too much of a kiss ass and the definition of “safe” comedy, tonight he was in rare form.  You can watch a couple highlights after the jump, or read the transcript below.
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Last night, to the surprise of many, “Pee-wee Herman” began trending on Twitter only a few hours after new account for the character launched on the social network: @peeweeherman (it has just been verified as legit). Earlier this year, Peter posted about a limited engagement at Hollywood’s The Music Box in November marking the official return of Pee-wee Herman (actor Paul Reubens) to his subversive stage roots with The Pee-Wee Herman Show. Tickets have long since sold out. But the first real test regarding relevance, nostalgia, and the bottling of curious man-child magic arrived last night. And what worse place for Pee-wee to giggle coyly and crack abstinence jokes than on The Jay Leno Show? His awkward interview with The Prolonged Chin and a few thoughts after the jump…

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