NBC Universal President and CEO Jeff Zucker made an appearance on "Charlie Rose" Monday, and after lots of hammering from Rose, admitted that the network has clearly made some mistakes with their late night lineup.
Did NBC make the right decision in 2004, when they promised Conan O’Brien the “Tonight Show” seat in order to keep him from packing up for another network? Yes, Zucker said, and he has no regrets about that decision. Trying to keep Jay Leno by giving him his own prime-time show, on the other hand – definitely not the smartest move, said Zucker.
“We were trying to keep both of our talent in house,” Zucker told Rose in the interview. “Obviously, in hindsight, perfect information leads you to the conclusion that it was a mistake. It’s the sign of a leader to step and when something’s not working, have the guts to reverse it and not let the mistake linger. Really, that’s what we’ve tried to do. We’ve tried to correct something that didn’t work.”
Yet trying to correct that mistake has led NBC into an even bigger mess. O’Brien said last week that he wouldn’t follow the "Tonight Show” if NBC pushed it back half an hour to accommodate "The Jay Leno Show” at 11:35, but NBC hasn’t budged from their proposed lineup, and as a result is still working through negotiations to settle O’Brien’s contract with the network.
While Zucker said he feels “terrible” that O’Brien won’t be sticking around at NBC, at the end of the day, it’s all about the bottom line.
“None of this is personal. These were business decisions. We’re talking about moving back a program a half-hour, a program that wasn’t making money for NBC. But the heap of scorn that has been put on this is completely out of whack,” Zucker said.
The scorn has gotten so strong that some are even lobbing death threats at Zucker.
“It’s been unfortunate,” he said. “But, Charlie, a little perspective here as well, on the magnitude of what’s happening in Haiti. People calling me names in the big scheme of things and people delivering death threats of a program moving back a half-hour is really out of context.”
Zucker added, “We would have liked for Conan to stay. It wasn’t perfect for Jay, he was going to do a half-hour; [and] it wasn’t perfect for Jimmy, he would’ve moved back to 1 o'clock a.m. We didn’t have enough room and time to make everyone happy.”
to Josh – you are so right !!! hold Conan to his contract – make him go on at 12:05 or let him walk away with nothing. He's already mouthing off that he will make lots of money elsewhere. Then go do it.... the sooner the better !!!
They should have resurrected the dead on arrival US version of Top Gear and given it to Jay. Cheap to produce, different than anything else on network TV, and it would keep him at NBC. Fools.
"It's just business." Isn't that what was said at the end of the third Pirates of the Carribean movie as they blew the ship out of the water. Hmmmm, methinks if he believes he will go down with the ship, he is as wrong as this comparison is!
And when NBC whacks him and sends him on his way, it will be "Nothing personal, it's just business."
Jeff Zucker's doing the right thing in admitting he made an error. No transition is easy. But at least he's not hiding like Ebersol, who's blaming Conan for the massive screw ups.
Also, someone here said "Conan's a goofy, immature clown," which doesn't make sense to me because David Letterman was the exact same way in the past, when he would ride slides into inflatable pools filled with cereal and milk, and people loved it. Thought it was the best and most creative stuff on TV at the time.
Zucker is incompetent and if this is how he conducts business, I can only assume how he runs his household.
It's just business people. I don't know who's right or wrong in this decision making process.
Just the uproar itself is something to be consider of. I don't think they seen this coming.
NBC = FAIL!!!
I used to be a Jay Leno fan, but now he just strikes me as completely self-centered. Conan did the honorable thing by saying that this institution shouldn't be moved, and Leno should have done the same. It's not just Conan either – his entire staff uprooted from New York and moved across the country on the promise of the best late-night gig on television. A promise made quite publically 5 years ahead of time.
I will tune into NBC once a week to watch 30 Rock, and other than that, they can fade away into the cable network world.
Zucker is a total idiot. His defense is "This is just business" – yeah... BAD business.
Zucker – pack up your office.
Jay – go and retire on your well-earned millions (and millions) of dollars.
Conan – Best of luck. I hope you have a nother show of your own soon and preferrably one that competes directly with NBC so they can complete their failure.
NBC really screwed Conan over. I think he is MUCH funnier than jay leno. NBC should have honored the contract. It sounds like such a crooked business. I hope Conan goes somewhere else to get a primetime slot for his show because he honestly deserves it.
Let us not forget that Leno's ratings are currently in the toilet. If he was so fantastic why is his show failing..wouldn't his loyal audience have followed him to the 10 pm slot?
NBC should have let Conan go back in 04 when he got "other offers".
His monologue is rarely funny and the "string dance" and "masturbating bear" bits are truly worn out and never were funny in the first place. He seems to appeal to the under twenty crowd who became a sort of cult following to his 12:35 show.
Put him on FOX head to head with Leno and Letterman and watch him flop.
I like Conan, I just don't think he is in the same league as Jay and Dave.
I watched the Rose interview and I've never heard so much nothing come out of a man's mouth in an interview in my life. He might as well have danced a jig in a kilt chanting "It's only business it's only business it's only business."
My household is done with NBC. You guys have fun watching Leno struggle to crack a decent joke.
What a Motherzucker. I hope Leno tanks and JZ gets canned.
james: January 19th, 2010 3:20 pm ET
I am sick of tired seeing all the "Conan only had 7 months". He's been on the air for 13 plus years! Jay had NO late night experience. That's the difference. When Conan came onboard The Tonight Show, he lost viewers, not gained. People need to stop distorting facts for no reason whatsoever. It doesn't matter what time slow you're on, what shows comes before yours, you have a job to do, do it.
You clearly don't understand programming and demographics.
Much like when a radio station changes format, when Jay took over the TONIGHT SHOW the ratings plummeted as the Carson audience left and the new Leno audience was built. The same thing happened when Leno left, so did his audience. Conan had to build a new 11:35p audience. Just because he had a show on-air at 12:35a already did not mean that audience could or would blindly follow him to 11:35p.
Jay did have late night show experience. He was one of several fill-in hosts for Carson when Carson was off.
It does matter what show comes on before yours. How many times have you seen a real clunker of a sitcom sandwiched between two really strong ones? The clunker always has the second half hour of the hour slot, the strong one is called the "lead in" show. Face it, no one will turn away at the bottom of the hour to join another show already in progress, so they stay with the clunker after watching the strong lead in.
Same thing here. No strong lead in drama's heading into the late local news and then into the TONIGHT SHOW. This whole mess wouldn't even have been that big if the affiliates hadn't said "Jay's show is tanking and killing the lead in to our local news shows, do something or we're dropping the network feed for that 10p hour."
I've never been a fan of Conan. I think he's a good writer, lousy host. BUT... he's getting screwed here and hard by both Jay (who isn't classy or professional enough to say "hey, I had my time, let the kid give it a shot. If he flops down the road, call me" and NBC who clearly hasn't a clue or they never would have put Jay on at 10p.
Zucker has the wrong job.
Leno appeals to the lowest common denominator of late night viewers. Those that do not get Conan's humor say he is not funny, but what they fail to realize is they are not bright enough themselves to appreciate it. Leno will struggle when he goes back to the Tonight Show; When he was at 11:30 a large portion of his viewers were also Conan fans. Those people will not be back with Leno, and that will leave him with a much smaller piece of the late night viewership. I will personally will never tune into NBC again, for anything... day or night. I will watch Letterman and Kimmel until Conan gets a new show up and running someplace else. Leno, you are nothing but a washed up backstabbing twit, and you will get exactly what you deserve... low ratings and a ruined reputation. Nice work, looks good on you.
conans ratings have jumped... but only in the last couple of weeks because his loyal 'fans' feel sorry for him. Use google. Read the numbers. Weep. Move on.
CoCo should GoGo because his ratings were only SoSo.
He stepped up and took it on the chin for this one. Okay business is business.
Let me assist him in not making a second mistake.
If you can't afford to put expensive dramas on NBC at 10:00 each night, then don't shoot the pilot, attract viewers and then decide it is not profitable.
I have invested too much time in shows that have been cancelled once I was hooked.
Why doesn't NBC ask the local stations to move the local news to an earlier time either 10:00 or 10:30 pm then have Jay and Conan. I would rather have the news earlier anyway.
Zucker's biggest mistake:
Referring to Leno as "talent."
It may be just business...but it is unethical bad business...and it can onlyu get worse for both the network and Leno the more they talk....and shame on Zucker for mentioning Haiti...only a person lower than a snake's belly in a wagon rut would say such a thing! Zucker need to be fired, Leno needs to retire and then all this rukus will die down....
It may be "business", but it is not good business.
NBC/Zucker – They made a business mistake and are forcing Conan to pay for it, standard business operating procedures. Seems they should give Conan Jay's spot. Either way, Zucker is the one who should pay the price for failure and lose his job, not the talent.
I really don't get the support of Conan. I think many here are missing the point that it BOILS down to ratings. His ratings were NOT there and NBC had a choice, either save the time slot and revive the audience or allow Conan to mold/shape/spindle/mutilate the time slot to the point of no return. I watched a few of his shows off and on during the past few months and I turned him off, as did millions more.
Yes, it is important to take risks but smart business people have contingency plans in case a venture doesn't work. Conan and others are right to call the people at NBC morons. They have completely made a mess of things and hurt people in the process. Zucker needs to quit patting himself on the back for paving a road to hell with his good intentions.
Everyone here seems to be on the same page.
You do not promise someone something and not give them the chance to make it. It is clearly wrong to take Conan from the time slot he was promised and I do blame Jay because ah HE COULD RETIRE.
The deal was made there were no surprises and to stay on is wrong.
I hope everyone ignores the tonight show after all it's just business nothing personal.
I'm a huge Conan fan, but I don't understand why Zucker is giving into Conan at all. Stop negotiating, tell Conan his show is at 12:05. If Conan refuses to do it, hold him in breach of his contract. I would be surprised if Conan's claims of an implied start time of 11:35 held up in court. If I was an NBC stockholder and not only were we getting rid of an established star but we were giving him and his staff 40 million to take a year off and then compete against us directly... I would be upset. I would hope we challenged his assertion that we were breaking the terms of his contract in court before we gave him a mountain of money. That being said, I'm glad NBC is run by morons, Conan is getting paid and will soon be on another channel. It would be great if he returned to the Simpsons.
Jeff Zucker needs to retire. I have not tuned into NBC at 10 pm since the Jay Leno show took over. Now I've found other programs on other networks (discovered BRAVO!) and I will not likely come back.
I do however love Conan and believe he was given a terribly weak lead in due to Leno – hence the poor ratings. I will follow Conan where ever he goes and hope he lands soon on another network.
I understand Zucker was trying to appease talent when he gave Leno the show after he agreed to retire. Zucker made the mistake of playing to ego rather than than thinking of the NBC viewers.
One more thing. Conan has been using the TS platform to bash NBC. He seems to forget that NBC was living up to its agreement to give him the TS (five years ago). The ratings are what deep-sixed Conan and it was the viewers who made the choice to him tune in or tune out.
As for Conan, I'm sure he signed an agreement (as many do at NBC) which states he agrees to keep his personal statements and negative comments about his employer to himself – not broadcast his personal feelings over a national network.
What he has proven in the last few days, with his lame jabs at NBC, is that he is neither funny nor a gentlemen.
With RUBES like Zucker running things, it is no wonder productions leave Hollywood to shoot elsewhere.
He will make an #$$ load of money for crap decisions like this and we the below the line people have to negotiate for a pittance of what he gets paid.
Hey Zucker, why don't YOU try working for a living and get down here with those who REALLY make a difference in Hollywood. IDIOT.
So, it's just business. I hope he thinks its just business when he gets fired!
Play Zucker off keyboard cat!
I don't the fascination with Conan. I've never found him funny and think that when he was offered the Tonight Show, it gave me a reason to finally get to bed earlier. Leno is a staple but, let's face it, no one could ever replace Carson – he WAS the Tonight Show. As for handing Conan 40M, I think he should be given a modest sum and shown the door. Just who comes up with these numbers? Conan worth $40M cause his ego was hurt – NOW that's a joke:-)
Some things are more important than money.
I know, that's like being anti-American, huh?
I remember watching the tonight show with Jay Leno. What a horrible, horrible show that was.
When are they going to fire this incompetent? Zucker has run every decent NBC franchise into the ground. They went from being number 1, with powerhouse shows like Seinfeld and Friends, and now they are in the gutter getting beat by the CW. They don't even have any prestige shows that wins them any Emmys. How bizarre that the talent goes but this idiot retains his job.
I am not a Conan fan – I think he's childish and a lightweight, but what happened to him and Jay both is ridiculous. Jay should have been allowed to leave NBC last year. Jay should concentrate on a car program – he would be a huge hit with most men and lots of women.
Zucker, you should be taken out and beaten with a stick. A very big stick. You have no class, sir!
The fact that he thinks THIS is the way business is done is a sad commentary on America's Top Businessmen. THere is no morality or humanity in American business. As a veteran of 25 years in the Insurance and financial services industry (Mutual Funds Annuities, etc) I can tell you that you all don't know the half of it. The evil and immorality and just plain stealing that goes on makes me want to puke. We are truly a shell of our former selves. It's an not an issue of democrat, republican, liberal or Conservative. It's a lack of righteous behavior. We have become a greedy backstabbing self centered culture that will do anything to win. I offer the Business of sports, the business of healthcare, the business of education as proof. Shame on the Business schools for leading the way !
to Flugel76 – "This is the biggest mistake NBC has ever made, or will ever make. NO one, and I mean no one...wants Leno back at 11:35...." Really? Was it your plan to prove you look like an idiot? Obviously your statement is wrong (in addition to being completely stupid!), since just in reading this blog, you will see that LOTS of people want Leno back at 11:35. Here, I'll mimic your style: "EVERYONE and I mean everyone knows Conan is not funny, a whiny cry-baby, and a loser". See, saying it doesn't make it so, because, sadly, many of the posters here think Conan deserves the job – one day they'll grow up and realize that frat-boy stupidity is not funny.
i'll go back to watching letterman when conan is gone.
to erin – Leno DID say he didn't want to retire – do you not know anything about this whole story – NBC made this deal with Conan 5 years ago and told Leno this is what would happen. It wasn't Leno's choice.
to Flames8889 – "keep in mind that Conan did nothing wrong. He took a job as the new host." YOU are a MORON – Conan demanded that NBC give him a start date as host of the Tonight Show or he was going to walk 5 years ago. Unfortunately, NBC gave in to that idiot's demands and gave him a date. So he didn't "take a job as the new host" – he hijacked the job !! Conan didn't get screw*&ed, but Leno certainly did, and so did the rest of the Tonight Show audience, based on Conan's ratings ! Leno didn't want to leave the Tonight Show, but due to NBC's idiotic gamble, he had to. Now, NBC is at least fixing the gigantic mistake they made in trying to keep Conan in their stable.
NBC sucks. Watch Letterman!
How bout they fire Zucker and tell him it's just business! I would love to see him go away.
it's the business of PEOPLE!! not just business.
I have two points: one, it takes a lot for any American to impress me , but the honesty of this chap does. Two, I've never seen either of the tv presenters being talked about. Is all this debate important?
But does two wrongs make a right? That's what NBC should think about.
Sadly, I think this whole thing is unfair to Conan and his staff who were offered to make a big move, which they did, and then they were not given adequate time to establish themselves.
I don’t blame Conan one bit if he wants out. How can you trust an employer who promises you one thing and then takes it back again?
If he moves to another network I shall follow him there instead.
Did he SERIOUSLY make a point about it "just being business" and then bring up Haiti? SERIOUSLY? I want what this guy is smoking.
Oh wait... he's smoking big huge bonuses for making monumental business mistakes! Fire this guy, please. Hire real talent.
Honestly, Jay or Conan, doesn't matter. He made a mistake, and if the roles were reversed, it would still be a mistake. How can you ever propose The Tonight Show starting... TOMORROW? Sack Zucker.
zucker sould be fired! he has flushed nbc down the toliet. what ever made him think to replace jay in the first place?!? he's incompetent.
He still thinks moving Jay from the tonight show in the first place was a good idea....yeah, next time someone is in first place for 15 years and making me a lot of money I will keep that in mind as a good business move.
Leno is not funny, boring, annoying, and his shticks are getting old. Conan was just getting warmed up and appeals to a whole new generation. Looking forward to the total failure that is to come.
Zucker tried using Haiti to deflect criticism of his idiotic decisions? I seriously doubt people are elevating the late-night talk shows to the level of up to 200,000 dead from an earthquake. I resent that remark but it hardly surprises me that he said it. Sounds about right coming out of the mouth of another American business executive who clearlyf eels entitled to privilege. Nothing is ever their fault and they should never have to face consequences for their actions. Let's smoke screen and view the public as a bunch of fools.
How does so much incompetency seep up to the top?
Jeff Zucker is clearly incompetent for not realizing that Jay Leno's ratings would remain high for five or more years from 2004, so of course he'd want to keep him around. And he had to be incompetent to think Conan's ratings would start as high as Jays. And he had to be incompetent to think that The Jay Leno Show would work out financially with affiliates. And he had to be incompetent to think he could push back Conan by half an hour. Other than that, I guess he's doing a great job.
He is a Zucker all right
@1209: Conan has been in negotiations this week to make certain that his staff all receive great severance packages. Also, if you had paid any attention to the writer's strike several years ago, then you'd know that Conan paid his staff's payroll out of his own pocket while the show was shut down.
Conan is a class act through and through. He takes care of his staff, and I have no problem with him making fun of the network that destroyed his show and put his staff out of work, especially after the mud-slinging NBC did about him in the press.
I think Jay's first guest should be Brett Farve. They've got something in common to talk about.
LETTERMAN ROCKS! FOOLS!
Leno just isn't funny. Zucker is ineffective. I hope Conan goes to another network and blows them out of the water, ratings wise. What a mess. The network is playing hard-ball with Conan, while acting in direct opposition of their own interests. If the higher-ups at Comcast don't get rid of Zucker they'll just have more of the same. What a disaster! No one wins now.
Jay Leno is not funny. The real mistake was not giving the show to David Letterman to begin with. I hope Conan will be successful somewhere else. Also, once again Jay Leno is not funny.
Conan and Jay both have a large fan base and probably should be on two different networks competing with each other. It is BS what is happening to Conan though, and I'd like to know what NBC plans on doing once Leno eventually does leave the show for good. Fox or another network would be stupid not to pick up Conan, or perhaps he could take the $40 mil and build a new network with some other investors that would like a channel that actually has decent shows instead of the same old reality crap...
I'M WITH CO-CO!
Zucker is going to be lucky to have a job when this is all said and done. He is writing the manual on how to make a bad situation worse. He is giving me the impression of an individual that caves quickly under pressure and makes panic choices. Not leadership material at all.
Leno and Zucker are both tired old dinosaurs. You gave the Tonight Show up, Leno. I think a lot of Conan's ratings issues were caused by the abysmal lead-in show that preceded his show. What was the name of that show? Hmmm... Leno is a scheming no-talent hack, and at least we all know it now.
If he claims promising Conan the Tonight Show was a good move, and admits trying to accommodate Leno by giving him another show was a mistake, how can he think that an even more awkward squeeze in late-night is an even better idea?
All of the upper echelon at NBC should be removed. They are clearly a bunch of buffoons.
Zucker is an incompetent. Long live Conan!
You think Zucker knows what he is doing? Add Conan's walk out fee and the broadcasting of the Winter Olympics and Zucker will LOSE NBC a quarter of a BILLION dollars.
not exaggerating.. look it up.
It's a classic case of Greed.
He wanted Leno because he brought in the older demo ratings. He wanted Conan because he has good ratings with the younger demo.
Blame the majority of American viewers, who are too simple minded to appreciate the wicked sarcasm and wit that is the comedy of Conan O'Brien.
WHOA WHOA WHOA!
I am 56 years old and cannot abide Leno and his bunghole-o buddies at NBC.
Just because I'm old and feeble doesn't mean I'm a fan of old and feeble "comedians".
Leno, the one-trick pony, had his time.
Zucker, the wart on the ass of progress, had his time.
Now I think it's time to clean house at NBC.
NBC...New Better Comedians not Numbingly Boring Crap.
Jeff Zucker is an idiot. He should be canned over this. Leno needs to retire, the guy sucks. I really hope he fails miserably or gets chin cancer.
just a shot in the dark, but when this all blows over, I think it's only a matter of time before Zucker is history. The NBC brand has been trashed for weeks. Like he said: this is just business. And the business at hand will soon be this: find a successor for Zucker – If they haven't done so already.
Zucker is just doing damage control. NBC is coming apart at the seams due to this mess which has resulted in loss of the public's loyalty. Even some of their hit shows are just lackluster and are so below par–COME ON, SEINFELD'S MARRIAGE REF! And I'm a Celebrity, Get me Out of Here? Good God! NBC has lost their appeal, majorly. I really enjoyed Conan because he attempted to take characters from 30 Rock and bring them to his show; Jay didn't do that. Everyone wants to say Jay is classy; no he's boring and shut out from his guests and more importantly, his audience. I think Jay is safe for NBC, or money and Zucker sees the vision of where they want the Tonight Show to be again and less of how they believe in Conan, or where the Tonight Show perhaps should be, or could have been. Of course it would have different, Jay and Conan are different and Conan used to get away with A TON of stuff in the midnight hour versus the 11:35 timeslot in just 7 months on AND with Jay to follow yet again. Jay didn't have to follow Carson in his first 7 months. The banter could go back and forth but I think NBC just isn't believable anymore...they've lost their appeal and they never had faith in Conan to begin with–they were ready to implode and I think Conan is wise to get out now, but on his terms. I think all of this was a necessary fall for Conan–perhaps an epiphany for him. Jay and Zucker will honestly fall and Conan will be there to reap the benefits of it. Just my view, Conan used to write and I'm sure he'll do that for a while, so he'll be just fine.
Suck it, Zucker!
Zucker... the sucker who tried to have his cake an eat it.
Leno is yesterday's talk show host.
This was Conan's time to shine, and Mr Zucker didn't give him a fair chance to get settled in his new time slot.
I for one am boycotting this piece of crap network. I'm not watching any new shows these idiots come up with. Whenever The Office starts going bad, or gets canceled, that's it for me. Good riddance to the dimwits at NBC management.
Conan is funny, but in my opinion Leno is more funny. They should never have promised the show to Conan in '04. Jay wasn't ready to leave...I like Jay better. I liked Jimmy Fallon on Saturday Night Live, but I don;t think he i late night show is any good. They should get rid of Kimmel on ABC and let Conan go there.
Putting Leno back at 11:35 won't magically make him funny again.
So it was just business huh Zucker? Well this is just business too, we will no longer watch your piece of crap network or the tonight show once Conan leaves. This too, is just business.
It's just business Mr. Zucker, you're a dumb ass and as a result of that boneheaded decision........ you're fired!
Woh, Woh, Woh
I am a very moderate person here.
I thought Jay was being a Jerk until I heard his side and how trapped he is by his contract.
Now I hold no animosity toward Jay Leno other than what he did to David Letterman decades ago.
I understand now that what Is going on today is not Jay or Conan's fault but rather a huge Snafu by Zucker the Brainless.
For those who need evidence of Zucker's failures, I again I ask you to take a look at SYFY.
Zucker runs NBC Universal and NBC Universal owns SYFY!
Zucker is a moron. Along with all of the other morons who control their programming. And I'm sure the other 12 people who watch NBC will agree with this! How the hell do they keep their over-paid jobs???
Zucker just cost NBC $40 million dollars, destroyed Jay Leno's reputation, added yet another stain to the Tonight Show franchise, and forced the already weak NBC schedule to be re-shuffled. Screw death threats, if this man keeps his job, NBC Universal is pathetic.
You forgot to mention that dozens of their affiliates threatened to revolt if NBC didn't take the Leno show off the air. Or that affiliates reported that their news programs lost as much as 50 percent of their ratings as a result of the Leno show.
Zucker is the problem. He doesn't know a thing about network business. He ruined NBC when it used to have the best prime time shows. He should stop deflecting and excusing. He should get canned.
Zucker takes a big L on this crap.
Greed does cost in more ways than $$. There is a price to be paid. Instead of holding on to both he should have crunched the numbers before and let one go.
Nothing personal it's business. You Zuck!!
I love how this guy can admit he made an initial mistake but is gonna stick with this even bigger one. He's basically saying "i know i messed up, but trust me" and when the audience is clearly not sure about it he's saying "WELL THATS HOW ITS GOING TO BE, GET USED TO IT". Its clear NBC never consulted Conan before it dramatically altered the show and now is basically saying "deal with it or leave" when 4 years ago they were willing to give him the world. I hate how NBC is a groveling little punk when his contract is coming up and now that he's locked in for a few years they're the big bad wolf. So sad that this once great network is being run by a bunch of tools.
With new ownership on the horizon, firing Zucker should be a priority. NBC has become the 4th network in what amounts to a four tortoise race. Zucker should be held responsible for his "decision" to "retire" Leno in 2009, and uphold the heir apparent to "The Tonight Show". Deathly afraid of the re-energized Leno running to another network and stealing Tonight Show numbers, he made the grievous error of putting Leno in primetime.
Now that his primetime experiment failed and the affiliates want his head, he is in a quandry that rests solely and squarely on his shoulders...not Jay's or Conan's. He made decisions he couldn't live with. Admit them, and move on...so someone more competent can run the network. This late night mess is only one of his bigger guffaws...there are many others.
I trust Zucker he is wise and knows what he is doing. Does not compute. Does not compute.
* I make you a Promise NBC, I will Never watch 11:30 (or is it 11:35PM) Jay Leno hosting Tonight show. What happened to my old Peacock (NBC) network? The way all this went "down" is really a poor poor reflection of NBC's managerial style; I barely even DVR/record the SNL shows, anymore – they just AREN'T funny; I hate to say it but NBCs got some definite problems these days!
Zucker, We're just not watching NBC anymore. That's the bottom line... as you'll soon see on your balance sheets. Just business you say... yeah a bad business. We don't need you.
IT's all very amusing to track, but I greatly prefer Letterman and Ferguson. While I enjoyed a few of Leno's bits (Headlines, pump-casting, stuff on Ebay), I found Letterman to be better overall. But Ferguson beats them all! (But I think his "brand" would be damaged if they moved him any earlier.) Conan never quite clicked with me, so with Jay at 10, I never strayed from Letterman at 11:30. I am also perfectly able to change channels when I like: I watch the local NBC affiliate's news, then switch to CBS. I'm usually not watching anything live before 11, so lead-in isn't relevant then. I watched Jay's 10pm show a few times, but found it not as good as his Tonight Show: too much silliness and not enough actual comedy. Conan mostly struck me the same way.
NBC is correcting a bad idea from 6 years ago. Who tells the number 1 guy in the country when they are going to retire. I think that Conan should have left 5 years ago. Jay should have never given up the Tonight Show. NBC messed up the one thing was keeping the network afloat.
Conan is right not to move the show to 12:05 it would not be the tonight show that it was famous for.
So what he is saying is that it is was the right decision to keep Conan and the wrong one to keep Leno, but yet they are still pushing to keep Leno. And then he pushes the problem off of him onto something that is happening in Haiti, which happens to be irrelevant to the real issue at hand which is that he is stupid. Good job Jeff...not really.
So O'Brien's ratings were fine comparing them to Letterman because they were close for the coveted 18-49yo demographics that the advertisers want, but now in comparison to Leno, they are not OK??? Make up your mind, NBC! If the 18-49yo demographic is the most important, then Leno is about on par w/ O'Brien as most of Leno's additional viewers before were older people.
If Conon's ratings would have been better then it would have been Jay that had to say goodbye. His show wasn't happening at 10 and Conon couldn't produce the numbers at 11:35. What NBC should have never conceded to Conon in 2004. Conon is not a mass appeal type of comedian, he reminds me of Steven Wright, some people get him but most first timers walk away disappointed.
I'm amazed that anyone finds Conan "Unfunny" O'Brien the least bit funny. Here is what we know about him; 1) he is not funny, 2) he will never be funny, 3) he is wierd, 4) he is whiny, 5) I sure as hell wouldn't give him $40 million for refusing to do what he is told to do, 6) did I mention that he is not funny at all?
Really, Zucker? You're gonna try to relate your situation to the situation in Haiti in an attempt to deflect blame for your stupidity...
Thank you for offering proof that you're a moron.
Why wasn't Jay put on AFTER Conan, if things weren't working in Primetime for Leno??
How does Zucker keep his job? NBC was on top when he assumed leadership of the network and now it's 4th place after the other three. Remember his Ben Silverman hire for programming?
I don't necessarily have any blame with the hosts. But what is going on here? NBC seems to have something against Late Night hosts (watch out Jimmy)!
Jay Leno should do the right thing (step away) and not allow NBC to screw Conan. Why is Jay going along with NBC? Was it not Jay Leno who announced over five years ago that he will retire on a specified date & Conan would take over the Tonite Show – this to avoid the controversies that came up back in 1992 when Dave did not get to host The Tonite Show?
By the way, the Rosalind and Carson D comments are planted by Zucker (he could not even come up with a different comment!). Zucker's business is reflected in his name.
This is the biggest mistake NBC has ever made, or will ever make. NO one, and I mean no one...wants Leno back at 11:35.....not even Leno!! This will probably supercede NBC giving The Tonight Show to Leno instead of Letterman in 1992 as the biggest screwjob in late night TV history.
If Conan goes, I am boycotting NBC, and I encourage everyone that thinks this NBC has lost touch with the viewers, reality and sanity to do the same. 420,000 and rapidly growing Facebook fans agree; I'm with CoCo!!!!
Don't get me wrong, I like Conan AND Leno, but I see the error in giving someone the prized jewel of late night TV, then taking it away simply because his predecessor failed at a new time slot....it's just not right. This news story shouldn't even exist. The solution is crystal clear to anyone with even half a brain. Dump Leno. Keep CoCo. It's not rocket science. Well.....it is for Jeff Zucker, apparently....what an idiot....
Jeff Zucker has revealed that there is no NBC legacy franchise that is too sacred to be meddled with. What is utterly fascinating is that Zucker reveals he is lost and in the dark about Entertainment programming. His strategy of "taking risks" equates to basically throwing ideas against a wall and seeing what sticks. Zucker admits there is no development, no process by which NBC finds the new hit show. His answer to getting the next Seinfeld or ER is an over-reliance on "Serendipity" and "Timing"! In this admission, he reveals that he is incapable of leading the most publicly scrutinized portion of the NBC/U conglomerate out of its protracted, accelerating tail-spin. Zucker is a deft middle-manager: he can build a compelling argument for his continued relevance, he pushes the blame for failure off on underlings he replaced (after putting forth the notion that "the leader accepts responsibility" - putting someone other than him in the leader context is unstated, but implied) and he manages to create an illusion of competence. He must be a formidable bureaucratic in-fighter. Of course his case withers in the glare of the scrutiny of his record. I'm afraid with him at the helm, the company is doomed. I have lost all confidence in him as a capable CEO of a much beloved network. Comcast has overpaid for their new ownership stake.
Let's get some perspective, as Zucker says. The fact is, they made a credible decision based on the information they had at the time. When it came down to it, the viewing audience didn't live up to expectations and estimates, and its now a new day. A new day that has to respond to business needs. There's no right or wrong here, they tried to keep talent and thought they had a good solution, in the end, it didn't work out to expectations. End of story.
leno is a hack...he is not funny at all
his "jay walking" and " beg for a plug" are Howard Stern bits..he even stole Stuttering John from Howard...
leno is a piece of garbage and I hope he fails miserably
Let leno walk, he is a waste of a time slot... O'brien has a lot more long term potential...
What a load of crap – the question is would Zucker do this to any other person? Leno is flat and not laughable – where does he get his stuff that Leno should get the pass and Conan the red slip. Its just not fair – I will not watch NBC any longer!
Why is everyone so angry over this? Relax, they're just talk shows. These guys make more money in 5 minutes than most people make in a lifetime – whether you're for Conan, Letterman, Leno, don't worry, they'll all be fine.
Zucker doesn't need to be killed, he needs to be fired. I wouldn't hire him to run a Dairy Queen franchise, let alone a television network.
And anyone who thinks Jay Leno is funny...God bless your hearts. Leno's version of the Tonight Show is so far away from his predecessors (and not in a good way) that it shouldn't even be considered the same franchise. Conan was a step in the right direction, but NBC forced him to tame up his act, which is sad.
And to the person who hopes Conan goes head to head with Jay so we can see who the real ratings are...remember that just because alot of people watch it doesn't make it good. Alot of people watch crap like "Wife Swap" and "Jon & Kate" too.
I just get such a kick watchin Letterman enjoy this mess sooo much. Its great...LONG LIVE DAVE!
Jay's audience is just a year or two from death. Any ratings he may have will be in the grave soon. It is a mistake to let Conan go. He is funny, Jay is not. NBC is making mistake after mistake. They are going to lose Conan, and in a year or so, Jay will be cancelled. Who at NBC is looking to the future??
Pretty sad to see that some people see Conan as funny. He's just imitating a younger Letterman, who was not funny then and is not funny now. Letterman's ratings are up a little lately because he cannot keep it in his pants. It's this younger crowd that thinks that SNL is funny too. Anything stupid and shocking will do.
Definitely worth $40mil to get rid of Conan. He does not deserve it, but he'll go and that's the main thing. Dump that idiot. Who hired him anyway?
Also amazing to see the vitriol toward Jay. Jay's ratings will kick the ass of the other two wannabes – that will shut your faces.
he looks like jar-jar binks
Typical GE. Bonehead and knucklehead decisions. Look at NBC, not just with this Late Night fiasco, it's at the bottom compared to all the other networks. Why? Jeff Immelt and down to all his soldiers-boneheads all.
Zucher and NBC management have been making bad decisions for years, they earned their 4th place in the network ratings. This was a perfect example, of how to bungle a line up.
Sound and fury, signifying nothing. Never watched any of them. Try getting worked up over something meaningful.
Yeah. Its time for Zucker to leave. No advertiser on his netowrk will get their money's worth out of advertising on their Leno show. Leno is done and the whole nation knows it. Zucker is done too only he don't know it. Bye Bye.
If all you Conan defenders would have watched his show, none of this would have happened.
Leno is a douche, and Zucker is a fool!
there is no way the tonight show will last once conan leaves! ONLY because of this drama!
If leno didnt want to retire he should have said so.
Drop leno, lose conan, Fallon takes over for 2 hours!
Jack Paar and Johnny Carson are spinning like a lathe.
Kind of hard to believe that comments at 12:42 and 1:01 are EXACTLY the same and made by different persons, I guess there are some Zucker trainees posting comments! Zucker Sucks!
This guy is a douche. Conan should keep the Tonight Show and Jay needs to walk away and only host some specials. I'm glad Conan is going to get a good deal to leave, but it's still not fair. What's going to happen in 2 years when Jay wants to quit again? Fallon to Tonight? Stupid.
Conan sucked anyway. Leno is the king. Great move by NBC to acklowledge the mistage and give the tonight show viewers their host back.
Jeff is just trying to keep his job after the Comcast buy.
Good luck buddy, you've proven that your not CEO material, it's a long hard fall from the top, maybe Jay will be there to catch you,
I too will be boycotting NBC programming once Conan is off the air as I am sure I can find their programs elsewhere.
I stopped watching the tonight show when Carson left. Jay Leno is not funny at all. As far as Conan, I may not be a fan of his but he is at lease marginally humorous. I'd rather watch an "immature" comedian who is half funny then a "mature" Jay Leno who is not.
For all of you who are bashing Conan, like 1209 (your a moron), keep in mind that Conan did nothing wrong. He took a job as the new host. Last time I checked, most people who work for a living like to move up in the world (which is what Conan was doing).
Jay got screwed over as well. He never asked to be another host. Hell, he never even wanted to leave the tonight show.
Maybe its just cuz I don't watch these late night shows, but it seems to me that both Jay and Conan got yanked around. Jay was forced out and given a show he didn't want, and then NBC went and pushed Conan's time slot without even sitting down and really talking to the guy.
They both got screwed by Zucker. Want someone to blame? Blame Zucker, he's the dumbass in charge, not Jay or Conan.
It may be business, but I think its clear your business is failing.
what a mess. One poor decision and now we have to deal with NBC dirty laundry. Personally I do prefer Leno over Conan but that has nothing to do with it. Goes to show you that backdoor deals always end up coming back to haunt you. Too bad it had to happen in open p-ublic. Let that be a lesson to the media- getting a taste of your own medicine isn't nice.
Too bad for Leno and Conan that they get caught in the middle, but I'm sure their careers will continue and they will enjoy success respectively.
Zucker IS a douche. If he wants to right a wrong so bad then he should let Conan keep the show
I am guessing Zucker is not a "wasp." But when the Comcast merger totally goes through, I rhink he may be out. I think the Charlie Rose interview was the beginning of the "cover your ass" tour. He's trying to save his own job. This has been a major debacle for NBC and he's responsible.
So because of the horrific events in Haiti, we are to all cease having thoughts or opinions about other, granted more superficial, topics? Methinks it's a nice strategy in theory, but like all of Zucker's strategies...horribly flawed.
Zucker is destroying the "Tonight Show" institution. The end of NBC is near.
I have here a closed envelope and I can tell you the answer before I open it to read the questions.
(Puts closed envelope on forehead)
Hmmm. The answer is 3535......3535
(Opens up envelope)
The year NBC will be the #1 network again!!
It's true that Conan's ratings are up because of the controversy. In my opinion they should keep Conan and try and retain his new viewers. If ratings drop again after a certain period of time then worry about replacing him. I think when they drop Conan and keep Jay NBC will never rebound from this.
Zucker should just step down. Seriously, the year just started and he has already lost Conan. What's next? Brian Williams? No job is safe, except Leno's for some reason.
leno is stupid.
i hate his face.
Seems like an NBC intern should be a litte more careful when trying to create "user" comments. Like, I dunno...l different TEXT.
Rosalind January 19th, 2010 12:42 pm ET
I trust Zucker he is wise and knows what he is doing.
Carson D January 19th, 2010 1:01 pm ET
I trust Zucker he is wise and knows what he is doing
Once jay gets the tonight show back his rating are going to be even lower than they were on the jay leno show and his show will get canceled and when nbc can't find a host to replace jay nbc is going to look stupid when they have to go back to conan and ask if he wants his old job back. That's my prediction. GO TEAM COCO!!!!
"Trying to keep Jay Leno by giving him his own prime-time show, on the other hand – definitely not the smartest move, said Zucker."
If they didn't keep Leno back in May, they wouldn't have him to help out now. Bad decisions were made then. Bad decisions are still being made.
Leno man, you have way too much time on your hands. NBC sucks.
No it's not just business; it's stupid decision-making by Zucker and his cohort powers-that-be at NBC. Over and over again over the past several years: stupid decision-making at NBC.
And if anyone at NBC thinks Leno has enough good will left with the public to return to his old ratings at 11:35, they're mistaken. So another stupid decision is about to be made.
It never ceases to amaxe me how folks will just wander off with their own ideas of how things happen, regardless of what is correct. #1 Jay Leno was told by NBC that Conan would be taking over the Tonight Show, he did not agree to anything, he was told that was the way it would be. As the date drew nearer, NBC became concerned that Jay would move to another network and put on a show opposite Conan, so they came up with the 10:00 show to keep him at the network. Neither the 10:00 show nor the 11:35 show are seeing the ratings NBC wanted, so now they are messing it all up trying to figure out how to regain the higher ratings the Tonight Show had a year ago. #2 I wonder why nobody mentions the crying from the affiliates. I have an 11:00 local news show that I watch – it does not mater what show I was watching at 10:00, I TURN THE STATION to the local news show I prefer. It would appear that a large number of TV viewers don't do that – they just sit and watch whatever show comes on after their 10:00 show is over. I'm not sure what this tells us about the average viewer, but I think it is obvious that no network can predict where the eyeballs will land at 10:00, 11:00 or 11:35 for that matter.
Zucker and all of NBC are douche-bags. NBC tied Conan's hands and in the process made his show less funny than when he was on Late Night. Conan played it safe when he moved to the Tonight Show, and no one wanted Jay Leno at his new time. Collective stupidity is the worst. It shows up in Hollywood as much as it shows up in Washington D.C.
Mr Zucker, like most suits, is completely out of touch. This is the man that brought us intellectual gems like "Fear Factor" and thought provoking dramas like "Las Vegas." I mean everything that was there before him suffered more under his helm. Of course this wasn't going to work, but to absolve yourself of any responsibilty by saying "It's just business" is so juvenille. Then you bring up Haiti because you get death threats? Its probably Conan employees who are threatening you because your stupid decision uprooted their lives 5000 miles. Who do you think you are?! Typical Napoleon complex. He's delusional, just like his programming choices.
So when Mr. Zucker gets removed as head of NBC it will be a result of his poor performance. I'm sure he won't mind..."it's all business".
A Serenade to Conan:
You're a mean one, Mr. O'Brien,
You really are a heel,
You're as petulant as a child, You're as slimy as dead eels,
You should be pelted with bananas with greasy black peels,
You're an idiot, Mr. O'Brien,
You have no human soul,
Your brain is full of inane jokes complete with stupid holes,
I wouldn't WATCH you from the other side of a thirty-nine and a half foot hole,
You're a vile and childish one, Mr. O'Brien,
There is an emptiness in your skull,,
You have all the class and intelligence of a stunted teenager,
Given the choice between the two of you, I'd take the stunted teenager!
You're a foul one, Mr. O'Brien,
You're a nasty, vindictive punk,
Youre heart is spiteful and mean, Your brain is full of gunk,
The three words that best describe you are, and I quote,
Zucker is absolutely correct it is just business.
And, a Tonight Show without Conan is one I will not watch.
So Zucker, I hope you have a plan in place to explain the ratings to your affiliates and investors. Of course you can always hope for another world disaster to deflect your incompetence toward. I am deeply saddened by the devastation in Haiti. To use it as your crutch is simply pathetic.
I have already notified my local NBC affiliate of my decision and direction. I have also begun looking for (and have found) shows on other networks and channels to watch. The affiliates of those networks will benefit as the network show leads into or follows their local programming.
Zucker, Conan stated several nights ago that his little situation wasn't of real importance in the world, that the disaster in Haiti was and even highlighted a charity people might contact. He didn't use it as a deflection because he felt attacked. He showed a lot of class. This whole deal got "nasty" because you told the public the same time as you told Conan (and Leno) what your plan was and publicized that they were asked to consider it. Conan said, "No" and gave his reasons. That's nasty? Seems to me he just didn't want to be dragged down in the destruction of a franchise you've decided to destroy. He and his people will have a future elsewhere. Will you and your people (and Jay and his people), after the "Tonight Show" goes down the tubes?
Why do not they split the tonight show and Leno and Conan would
share. One day Leno, next day Conan.
I will not watch the Leno "Tonigh Show". I think Leno should retire and allow Conan to build his legacy for the Tonight Show. NBC continues to make bad choices. They let shows like Life, Chuck, ER die but allow lame ass reality shows and Leno to stay on the air. At least they have Chuck back. But for how long? and will they promote the show and it's stars.
If Conan goes, then Letterman will rule the late night. Maybe CBS should hire Conan and Letterman to host a show together. "Late Night with David Letterman and Conan O'Brian". That has a nice ring to it.
Jay is a jerk. He knows exactly what he's doing & yes Jay should just do the right thing & retire or do SOMETHING else. I WILL NOT watch Jay. Team CoCo I stand. I used to like Jay BUT not anymore!!!
Conan didn't fail, he was failed by NBC and the incompetent Zucker. He should have been left alone to build his audience, the next generation of Tonight Show viewers. Instead, we get the tired, lame Leno back to do the same lame boring stuff. I can't wait until Leno does finally give it up, and NBC is left with the Tonight Show as a forgotten also-ran with an audience of geriatrics and some unknown as the host. Conan will still be going strong no doubt on Fox or Comedy Central..
What puzzles me is why does Zucker still have his job? He screwed up 4 years ago and now EVERYONE is pi$$ed! Zucker I think your day will come and when it does remember, it's just business! And it's beyond me why people are so upset with Jay Leno he was the one that was forced to retire and all he did was agree! His prime time show was cancelled NBC offered him an 11:30 spot so again he agreed. Conan was the one who disagreed about pushing the Tonight Show back 30 minutes. I happen to agree with him, why do that. But yet Leno is still to blame? It's like blaming Obama for the NBC mess.
I trust Zucker he is wise and knows what he is doing. I did not have sexual relations with that woman.
Let Jay and Conan stay--–tell Zucker to polish up his curriculum vitae because he is going to need it after this thing settles down. Zucker needs to go.
It's nothing personal Mr. Zucker, your network sucks and I only watched 2 shows there, Heros (which you all pulled from SciFi before you rebranded it) and Late Night with Conan O'Brien. I'm going to fully boycott now.
While Zucker may be right about the bottom line, that doesn't excuse treating people badly along the way. And I'll be watching Letterman, btw ;)
Jeff Zucker always has been an 'idiot at the helm'. Wherever Conan lands, I'll be there to watch him. Nothing Personal Jeff, JUST BUSINESS.
Look, Jay was cash cow for MANY on the Tonight Show for many years. NBC tried to kick Jay Leno to the curb when he was #1 on late night. Zucker trashed a show that was a success and gambled on Conan. Well surprise surprise both shows tanked. This is not Leno fault. Zucker should go. Don't forget Leno WAS THE money maker. Also Conan ratings were far worse then Leno's ever was.
Very surprised that Zucker is still at the helm of NBC after several years of ratings decline.
Conan rules! Jay Leno sucks! Fallon blows!
Conan has no one to blame but himself. He's not funny, he's not creative, and he's losing money. Leno is funny, creative and is not stuck on himself.
Zucker is an idiot for saying that there isn't a solution... There is a solution!!! Let Jay Leno retire like he was suppose to. Jays ratings were low when he first started, they needed to give Conan more time to establish his show. We will not tune in to watch when Leno returns and Conan is out. It is really strange that Zucker is going against the heavy public outcry to keep Conan and oust Jay... I thought he was into ratings? He is moronic!
Zucker is a moron. He's messed up late night magnificently not to mention the rest of NBC prime time shows. When was the last time NBC was relevant in prime time? Answer: before Jeff Zucker got there. He's a hack who managed to bungle the most staid programming in the history of TV – late night. Zucker should resign before he makes NBC an everlasting industry punch line.
Same with Dick Ebersol. Hey Dick, you've got the chance to beat your own personal record by making this winter Olympics even more boring than the last one. Way to go NBC executives!!!
I think both Zucker and Jay are both to blame for this. The main reason that this is all going on is because the affiliate channels were losing there local ratings because the Leno show was doing so bad. So, instead of Leno getting the boot (like any other bad rated show would have done to it) they decided to move Leno back to the Tonight Show. Well, after poor Conan waited 5 years to get the Tonight Show, he gets the rug pulled out from under him in 7 months. I wasn't a big fan of Conan on his late night show, but I do enjoy him now that he's on the Tonight Show (and yes, I've been watching the Tonight Show since Johnny was on it). How good would have Conan's ratings been if Jay's show wasn't killing the local affiliates, with whom most of the people rolled right into the Tonight Show from their local news
The real shame is that Conan was giving his dream shot, just to get it taken from him. IMHO, he has EVERY right to be a baby about it. He moved himself, his family (with young kids) and the whole crew plus their families to do what NBC asked him to do. NBC built this brand new studio for him, which is even more money that NBC lost. Funny, Jay didn't even have to move to LA, he was already there. How pissed would you be if you lost something you really wanted for years, only to have someone else take it away from you after you had it for a little bit
For Zucker, nice try at the apology and thinking you are manning up by saying you made a mistake. Now, how about really manning up and really fixing the problem, by getting rid of 'retired Jay' like you should have all along.
For Jay, it's time you step aside and quit ruining Conan's shot at fame. You were the one who stepped down from the Tonight Show, let someone else have their shot at continuing the shows history, instead of you trying to ruin it.
Death threats?? Over a multi-millionaire celebrity and a talk show? I hope they throw those people issuing those threats in jail. Of all that's going on in the world, I don't think Conan needs your protection so much that he would want you to issue death threats. Some people really have no life. Yes, I feel for Conan, but not enough that I'm going to waste 5 minutes writing a letter of complaint, not to mention issue a death threat!
200,000 people lost in an earthquake...10% of the U.S. unemployed...1 man gets paid $40 million to lose his job...I do feel bad for the people who work for Conan that won't get millions to be unemployed...lot of rich folks whining about shows that not that many people watch...Zucker might be an easy target but he was dead on about perspective...it's just tv...ask the people of Haiti if they care...
The easiest solution to this was to just get rid of Jay Leno and give Conan a while to build up an audience that isn't split between 2 talk shows on the same network. So what if Leno went to Fox. Do you actually think having a show on Fox will translate as success? A network that hasn't had a late night show that was worth anything in over 15 years?
I think the big mistake in fixing the previoius mistake is that NBC had decided to keep an aging talent instead of helping to develop a younger talent. The coveted young adult demographic isn't going to stay around to watch their parents' host. NBC is too focused on now (where they are losing in the ratings) instead of the future (where, at this rate, they will continue to lose in the ratings).
Ya know, all of you keep assuming he is going to FOX, well, FOX has not expressed any interest in signing him on. As a matter of fact Conan has not gotten any offers at all. You folks really need to educate yourselves on this situation instead of sounding like fools.
to Seriously?? – Conan should worry about Conan's writers – maybe he'll finally take responsibility for something and pay them out of his incredibly stupid payout. But gee whiz, that would mean he had to act like an adult and not a stunted teenager. So tired of hearing Conan blame everyone but himself. He couldn't do the job, period. End of discussion. If he had just manned up, admitted he wasn't doing the job he was hired to do (since his ratings were dismal) and taken the 12:00 slot, he'd have had Jay Leno to give him a real lead-In (not the news which was the actual lead-in). How many other jobs do you know of that gives you 7 months to figure it out before they fire you ???
Stuff happens. We're human....we all make mistakes. No matter how far up the food chain you are, human error is amongst every person on this earth. Maybe Zucker did make a wrong decision however, he is trying to fix it. Give the guy a break! I'm sure he isn't feeling real good about it either.
Zucker has ran NBC into the ground long before the Conan/Leno mess. Ben Silverman was a bad choice, who spent way too much on a bad slate of shows. The only two shows that have kept them alive are The Office and 30 Rock.
When will the company wise up and release that a buisness man without a creative bone in his body is not what they need. They need a forward thinker who will take creative leaps, but take steps backwards.
Jay Leno really needs to grow up and stop throwing these tantrums like a child who wasn't getting what he wanted. You're not even funny Leno I find you very obnoxious. CoCo all the way!
I can't believe that Jay would even stay at NBC after being yanked around as much as he has been. I understand wanting to protect the jobs of your staff, but come on – have a little pride, man. Recognize your show failed and go do something else for a while. You'd be great on a car show!
I also can't believe Jeff Zucker would choose to keep a host who appeals to aging baby boomers over a host who appeals to college kids, twenty- and thirty-somethings. Who do you think is going to give money to your advertisers for the next 20 years, Jeff – us young Conan fans or Jay's audience of retirees?
And Jeff, never say "it's not personal." When people's livelihoods are at stake, it's ALWAYS personal to them.
I have always liked Jay Leno. I believe he is a good man. I have never liked Conan or David Letterman. They are both silly and just not funny. I for one will be glad to have Jay back for my late night Fix.
Conan may not be for everyone but few can deny he's talented. He waited a long time for this opportunity and after just 7 months the rug is pulled out from underneath him and the bland host he replaced is back. Besides FOX, there may not be a lot of opportunities for him. It would be a shame if he disappeared into TV oblivion after this week...
Zucker has shepard NBC down the drain, and with each misstep he says it was a good business move at the time. Well a good business move would have been to fire Zucker and his arrogant approach. NBC should be looking at people who dedicate more time thinking about how to improve things rather than using their time patting themselves on the back.
This is all about egos, namely Jay Leno's and Jeff Zucker's, with Conan stuck in the Middle. Jay could have chosen to leave gracefully and retire but he didn't. It never made sense to me and many I know for Jay to leave and only do a half hour show. Clearly there was something on the back burner. I personally would like to see BOTH Jeff and Jay leave instead of Conan!!!!!!
to CHAZ – once Conan is gone there won't be any reason to boycott NBC. They will have thrown out the trash. As I've said before, if all the people who think Conan is so great and his show is so great had WATCHED his show, maybe this wouldn't be an issue. But now that he's cancelled (thank the sweet Lord!), suddenly all these people are crawling out of the woodwork.
Leno will do just fine – he is a superior talent, and not a whiny cry-baby like Conan.
to RW – None of Conan's civil liberties are being violated – he sold them for close to $40 million !!!! That's called a contract or a settlement agreement – happens all the time. Definitely doesn't violate anything, since Conan willing signed the agreement !!!!
Pretty clearly NBC needs to make a "business" decision and get rid of Zucker. Nothing "personal," Zucker, but a bigger boob would be hard to imagine.
I'm more concerned about Conan's writers than Conan's show, or Conan himself. What are they going to get? What are they going to do?
I'm With The COCO!!!!!!!!!
I can't wait untill he's on FOX and kills Leno in the ratings.
While Leno may be likeable ... Leno was/is stale at best, time to retire ... his show has no energy.
to Zucker & NBC ... and note to Conan - my channel is turned to whatever network Conan is on ... his show is fresh and funny ... doesn't have to rely on same old borrowed jokes and lame spins on current headline ... but Zucker & NBC make it such an easy decision ... we rarely tune into anything on the network anymore anyway ... lineup sucks ... NBC = Nothing But Crap!
Zucker is a complete tool...using the Haiti situation to divert attention from his major screw-up is really shady.
NBC, are you reading this? You'll lose me once Conan is gone.
COCO makes LENO look like chevy chase show oh mo!
If Zucker compares his complete failure as an executive and the corresponding reaction by the public to the catastrophe in Haiti, he should take the logical next step and take down all NBC programming in favour of fundraisers for Haiti on a 24/7 basis. After all, any NBC programming is insignificant compared to that desaster.
This seems to be continuous trends with business', it sad to see that it has made its way to television. Too many decisions are made on short term forsight that involve such huge palyers such as Leno, O'brien and Fallon. All three can bring in huge profits if marketed correctely, but Zucker is obviously too incompetant to do his job and strategically market his products. C'mon man business 101. My guess is he wont last much longer you can't tell me that the stake holders will allow this poor excuse for a CEO to make another mistake. Absolutely pathetic. The bashing towards NBC is completely deserved to have such incompetant high level management!!
Here is the issue – no one at NBC had the brass balls to tell Conan that he is a niche player to a niche TV audience. Where he does very well. When Conan was promised the Tonight Show in order to ensure that he would not bolt to another network NBS was saying – we really do not want to address this issue at this time so lets see how this plays out.
If that is the only way you see it, Zucker, then that is what you will get (and why NBC is as Julia Roberts said, 'In the toilet'. Business doesn't make ratings – think you should know that by now!!!
What is wrong with those of you defending Zucker?! A deal is a deal. He should abide to his contract with O'Brien. How can he claim that it was a smart decision to hire O'Brien in 2002 to host 'The Tonight Show' and now claim that 'O'Brien' has to go. Don't be fooled by his hollow attempt to admit his supposed mistakes because he clearly doesn't feel he did anything wrong.
As far as the ratings, wouldn't it be reasonable to assume that one reason the ratings are lower than expected because people are tuning away from NBC to other networks because Jay Leno's show couldn't compete with other Prime time shows such as CSI?
The truth is, however, that Conan O'Brien is just as popular as Leno and Zucker is clearly displaying some personal animosity toward O'Brien. I ask you that if it were you, would you wanted to be treated by your boss the way O'Brien has been treated?
Years ago, when Zucker was head of programming at NBC, he stated proudly that he never read a script. And instead of being fired he was steadily moved up the line. The guy doesn't give a damn about the quality of content, or the quality of his network – and it shows.
Hey people, don't you follow this at all? You keep blaming Jay, well NBC *wants* him to stay, he is their money maker. You keep saying, "Jay step down". Well, he can't *step down*, NBC won't let him. And why should he, he was willing to compromise, and as much as I like Conan, I really feel he should have compromised as well, and just went on at 12. For one half hour? Really, this could have worked out quite well, and don't give me the Tonight Show *has* to be on at 11:35 Hooey.....The Tonight Show used to be a 1 and 1/2 hour show back in the day, then they shortened it to 1 hour to accomodate another late, late night host after Johnny. What if Johnny had got all up in arms about it and left?? C'mon, really??? Things change, and I really think Conan should have just sucked it up and gave the midnight thing a try. A lot of us don't want to see him go.
And another thing....Jay being back on at 11:35 is not going to fail, you people that think it will (because you want it to, but it won't. By the end of February, all will be forgotten and back to normal, and no one will give Conan a second thought until he shows up somewhere new. It's just the way things work..I mean, who thinks about Michael Jackson anymore. Out of sight, out of mind, that's the way it works people...
Bottom line is, I like Conan, but he really is being a baby about this.
As soon as Conan goes off the air on NBC, please join us for a BOYCOTT of ALL NBC programming.
Children, children, I have a solution. O'Brien and Leno can alternate weekly hosting the Tonight Show. They will trade off and be each other's Ed McMahon. Soon, there would be so much sabotage on the set that eventually they would kill each other off. Then, perhaps, someone young with fresh, new ideas would take their place and all would be good again with the world.
Zucker must go.
Zucker is a liability and should be removed. His career is finished. He single handedly has dismantled a television instituftion and brought down a massive media corporation...
Who in their right mind would ever hire this man again?
Zucker definitely is a gigantic moron, and Conan blows big time. He never deserved the Tonight Show. Talk about screw ups for the ages. We'll be talking about this forever, like Coke's blunder.
Im with u John from AZ, i hope nbc & Leno fail!
It's puzzling that Zucker still has his job. NBC's ratings across the board have steadily gone down year after year since he arrived there. I thought the TV business was all about results. Does he have compromising pictures of Jeff Immelt or something? It just doesn't make sense.
and they are paying this guy how much for his wisdom??????????????
This guys days are numbered at NBC....
Leno had his shot. He had 17 years on the tonight show. He handed over the host 6 years ago. Had plenty of time to prepare for his show. His show tanked. It was cancelled. He should ride off into the sunset. His failure should not affect Conan. They talk of bad ratings for Conan, but Jay's were worse when he started but he had the luxury of time to get better in that format. Conan is not so lucky. Prediction: Zucker out in less then a year. Leno returns to tonight show, but ratings will be poor. They will have to get another host eventually as Leno's true colors have been shown here. I know I will never watch Leno again and I will try to stay away from NBC. Saying it is business is an out for saying that you do not know what you are doing.
Coco is an idiot. Zucker is smart!
Ok Leno Fanatics, you may be right after all about Leno having the better show, but what NBC did to Conan remains completely unfair and wrong.
They are giving him $40 Million Dollars to walk away or is it billions?
At any rate, Money wise Conan will temporarily be OK, but it is unfair for Zucker to tell Conan he can't bad mouth him after what he has done to him.
Zucker is one of the lowliest scum on the face of the Earth because he is taking away one of Conan's civil liberties!
Conan is not free when he is being silenced. Bottom Line!
A couple of anecdotes:
I heard a video game designer being interviewed. He said, "Our executives don't play video games; they play golf. Our executives don't write code; they make deals. Our executives don't want a new, original idea; they want (1) a sequel to an already successful product or (2) a knock-off of a competitor's successful product."
I heard a co-worker say, "Our executives don't know how to build a computer, write software, write up specs, or drive a delivery truck but they know how to cut costs. They lay off 4 out of 10 people and tell the 6 survivors that they have to take up the slack. Deadlines are not changed. Workload is not changed. We just neglect our families."
Great interview last night. Charlie asked tough questions and Zucker sounded relatively intelligent and willing to amit mistakes. Personally, though, I am not sure it was really a mistake. By promising the tonight show to Conan 5 years ago, they managed to keep Conan for 5 more years. And, by giving Jay the 10pm show, they managed to keep him under contract, so he wasn't able to go to a different network while NBC gave Conan a chance on the Tonight Show. If you look at it from that perspective, NBC actually placed this perfectly. They managed to try something new, while taking very little risk. As far as Conan is concerned - although he is very funny and likable, I don't really think he is that much worse off either. He will walk away with plenty of money and will probably end up at a different network before we blink. The only thing he would have done differently is go to a different network 5 years ago. How much worse off is he really?
I don't feel sorry for any of the late night hosts. They all make way more money for what they do then they deserve or should. Boo hoo, someone gets cancelled or their time is moved. They have enough money for several lifetimes. It's all about egos my friends..
*** I trust Zucker he is wise and knows what he is doing. ***
LOL! Anyone who follows broadcasting knows that Zucker is the #1 example of failing up in the industry.
Just because something is "just business" does not mean that integrity, honesty or moral obligation should go out the window (even though that's what they do on Wall Street). A successful business knows that you keep your clientele and retain good employees by treating everyone fairly and with respect. No wonder NBC is going down the toilet!
Really, Leno at 10 p.m. was unwatchable and uninteresting to anyone under the age of 50. Whoever had that bright idea - Zucker? - should step down. Jay should step aside. I don't care if they move him to 10 p.m. I won't be watching. Letterman: I'm yours!
Are there people (apparently there are after reading a few comments) that seriously think that he is "manning up and admitting his mistakes"?
HE TRIED TO DEFLECT THIS BY USING HAITI.
How low can you get?
He is pathetic.
Zucker is just trying to cover his ass. Not personal my ass. Anyone ever work in the corporate world? It's always personal.
Jeff Zucker should resign for making a inept decision. I believe he is totally wrong. So we will follow Conan's where ever he goes.
He gave Conan the Tonight Show and switched Jay to the 10pm slot as to not lose all of NBC's talent... Conan was walking and Zucker gave him what he wanted as to not lose him and gave Jay an opportunity. Name me a company who does not try to keep their talent happy (can you say Wallstreet). so it didn't work.. .big deal! At least the Government didn't have to bail NBC out! Zucker is a good guy, always has been (since HS) and always will be. IT's JUST BUSINESS FOLKS!
I am sick of tired seeing all the "Conan only had 7 months". He's been on the air for 13 plus years! Jay had NO late night experience. That's the difference. When Conan came onboard The Tonight Show, he lost viewers, not gained. People need to stop distorting facts for no reason whatsoever. It doesn't matter what time slow you're on, what shows comes before yours, you have a job to do, do it.
Conan brought down the Tonight Show with dumb down jokes to appeal to college kids. He completely took all the class it had. Good riddance.
Watched Zucker's interview with Rose and concluded that he's the Peter Principle poster child writ large. He failed–understandably–to satisfactorily address one of the key components of Conan's ratings problem–the decision to slot Jay Leno's horrendously warmed-over unimaginative shtick at 10 p.m.
Zucker's the prime example of an executive who really doesn't want to make the hard choice and ends up fouling up everything with a decision that pleases no one. His continual reference to "business decision" as his out doesn't cut it, since the "business decision" to put Leno in at 10 p.m. was a bad one that was evident to most people the moment it was announced.
Zucker famously destroyed the number one network and has failed up. When will he be out of a job? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?
KRUSH KILL DESTROY KIMMEL! I’m thinking about putting together a “Get Rid Of Jimmy Kimmel” rally. He’s never gotten anything close to good ratings and now he’s drafting off the drama created by NBC. He’s the worst kind of comedy parasite – one that can’t create his own humor from scratch.
Please gods of late night, end this pit in my stomach every time I see his smug mug, baggy eyes and jet-black painted on hair! Cancel that sleepy looking zero SOON! BLECH!!!!
What has this guy done right? Remember when NBC was the #1 network? NBC is routinely beaten in the ratings by shows on cable. He's alienated the creative community by filling prime time with cheap reality shows (Biggest Loser) and five hours of Jay Leno. This guy should be following Conan out the doors of NBC. I wouldn't hire him to run a Dunkin Donuts.
.... ever heard of honoring your word (i.e. contract)? This was a nasty game of politicing and fortunately for the viewers we got to see what NBC, its executives and Jay Leno are made of....not very much!
Zucker should be fired. He's ruined NBC. The Today Show is nothing but a morning version of Entertainment Tonight, there are horrible shows programmed. Leno is also a shmuck. He goes on the air talking about how he doesn't want his staff to lose their jobs so he'll go back to the tonight show. What about Conan's staff? Jay is doing this for him and him only. I don't watch Jay and I don't watch Conan. But whereever Conan goes...I'll watch and support. Boycott NBC. Boycott Jeff Zucker.
Zucker is a wise man and knows that Lenos mediocrity will bring more viewers to late night than the smart witty Conan could ever do.
Good call, NBC. Bring back to worst host in late night since Pat Sajak.
And nice job Zucker in sinking Conan's Tonight Show by putting that wash out on at 10:00 every night. Why not just bring back 'Manimal' or 'Super Train' and put that on at 10:00 every night?
Bottom line... Jay Leno is not funny and his new show was terrible. The only reason he keeps getting ratings is he gets big guests and people are used to him and his dumb jokes. He has no stage presence like Conan or Letterman.
As time goes on and older new viewers start watching and old viewers stop, Leno's ratings will decline and whoever is smart enough pick up Conan will be the new Late Night leader. NBC also shot themselves in the foot by loading Leno's bomb of a show with big name guests, because they suck the latenight crowd into watching Leno instead of the Tonight Show with Conan. Of course Conan won't get as good of ratings if Leno gets all the publicity and guests. Bad moves NBC.
FIRE ZUCKER! he talks about the network losing money but it is this mess that will cost the network 40 million?! Hello, please give this man a brain. Also, Jay Leno is tired. He couldn't even read off a cue card well and his standup is the only thing he likes about the show.
Jeff Zucker is an ass! And Jay Leno is not a respectable or honorable man. Jay should have stepped aside, as he agreed to 5 years ago. It's sad to see Jay trying so hard to save his image now that he is so despised. I once thought Jay was a great guy and I felt lucky to have seen him perform live once. I'll never watch Jay Leno again. After Conan's last show I will never watch the Tonight Show again. It's as good as dead. And how funny will it be five years from now when Jay is pushing 65 NBC will be looking for someone to replace him all over again. I hope NBC crashes and burns. Jeff Zucker has ruined the once great American company that was NBC and turned Jay Leno and the Tonight Show into the worst kind of joke. I've gained so much more respect for Conan for the way he has handled this.
Hey Jeff... a whole lot of people are never going to watch Jay Leno, the Tonight Show or NBC again... it's just business.
Easy for him to say he and his staff aren't out of a job. The entire industry is laughing at them. And when Leno fails at 11:30 justice will be served.
This really opens the door for Letterman.
There have been so many mistakes at GE maybe Immelt should be the one to go.
Haha, Zucker referencing Haiti. Don't worry, Mr. Zucker, we can follow the events in Haiti closely and still have time to laugh at the mess that NBC has created. We are a multi-tasking people.
How about it took the almighty Jay Leno 3 years to get his show rolling (which by the way only happened thanks to Hugh Grant)!! They give Conan 7 months and decide he can't cut it? Too bad – this whole mess probably would have the same effect on Conan's ratings. Congrats to whichever network takes him – and the ratings that will follow – in with open arms.
Isnt this just the American way. The boss screws up and the employees get screwed. Fire Zucker and every one that involved in their PR dept, advertising dept and in charge of focus groups. I'm a fan of Leno and Conan and both of them really took it in the shorts on this one. God forbid there be reprocussions to Zucker the biggest D-bag in NBC management. EPIC FAILURE ZUCKER!!!!
Only the US government would allow such a failure to continue to keep his job.
When Leno took over for Carson, he was horrible.
He tried to find his footing by doing a lot of carson-esque bits (anyone remember Iron Jay?) that just fell flat. Unfortunately for NBC they were not going to bel able to pull Carson out of retirement. But after a period of trial and error, he discarded the things that didn't work and found a way to appeal to a new audience. Giving Conan 7 months is hardly comparable. And add to this the 10 pm disaster that fed the late night news and therefore The Tonight Show. When Jay was finding his footing he was being fronted by the likes of Law and Order and ER. There was no way that Conan was going to build an audience with people staying away from Jay's new show in droves. This whole fiasco is the sign of a network in a panic when their new cost-saving brain child died. Now they are throwing out the baby with the bath water and will only be left with the ring around the tub.
What no one is mentioning is that Leno took his audience with him to 10 p.m. Those same people probably didn't watch at 11:30 thus causing ratings issues for the Tonight Show. Also, the bigger issue (according to NBC at first) was the affliates complaining that Leno wasn't a big enough lead in to the local news. Funny how his ratings are good enough to go back to the Tonight Show. No, I don't think this is Leno's fault – clearly the network is run by a bunch of spoiled overpaid idiots who are never held accountable for their actions. But Leno could have bowed out and let Conan continue. Leno claims he was offered the show and how could he turn it down when he has a staff to employ... What about Conan's staff? They all moved across the country to LA for a job. I guess Leno forgot about them.
I truly hope Conan can go elsewhere and find more success. I hope Leno's show tanks. It was pablum at best anyway.
What a shame that sense of humor of the average American actually prefers the very unfunny Jay Leno over Conan. Of course these are the same people that watch "comedies" like "Accidentally on Purpose" rather than "Community" and "30 Rock". Just sad.
Though I may not agree with what NBC did, death threats over TV shows, and that's what they are people!, are not deserved. I wish Conan O'Brien the best, but lets face it... he has the luck of the irish in him... he'll be just fine!
NBC should've just cancelled Leno. Stupid to get into this mess.
However, now that there is a mess...Conan should go to FOX and FOX should put his show on at 11 or 11:30. Once people start Conan's show at 11:30, they won't be switching at 11:35 to Leno.
Re: Dan – you are so right – Conan was failing on his own, and now wants to blame it on someone else. His so-called humor is juvenile, to say the least, and not at all funny in my (and obviously many many other people) opinion. He had months to prove he could get an audience, and he couldn't do it. So now that there is controversy, people have tuned in to his show to listen to his poor poor me whine. Whoopee!! If he remained on the show, as soon as the controversy had disappeared, so would Conan's slightly elevated ratings. There would be no reason for anyone to tune into his show if there were nothing for him to act like a petulant child over. For all the people up in arms and claiming to love Conan's show, his ratings should have been through the roof !!
Kudos to Jay Leno for not stooping to Conan's childish level and writing a letter to the "People of Earth" – Conan made himself look even more idiotic with that !!!
I trust Zucker, CLEARLY he knows what he's doing... Ever paid someone 40 Million for 1/8 of their contract period?
Zucker ought to be fired for gross stupidity. Leno needs to take two aspirin and call us when he gets over himself. And Conan? Well, no one really cares.
Zucker, you complete moron, Conan is way funner than Leno has ever been or will ever be.
He even admitted that giving Conan the Tonight Show was the right move, and giving Jay the 10pm show was the mistake. To correct it, they should be firing Jay, not punishing Conan.
I am, and will continue to be, with Team Conan. Sadly though, a new Conan show on any other network will never carry the assurance of a long run – the way The Tonight Show would (or should have). I feel horrible for the people on Conan's staff who may have been with him from the start on Late Night, what are these people to do now if Conan's new tent isn't quite as large? NBC has fallen far from its position of dominance. The person I would really like to hear from in all of this is Lorne Michaels – who has had a rold in Letterman, Conan and Fallon in the late night lineup at NBC. Lorne should take Conan, Jimmy, SNL and 30 Rock and BOLT to cable.
Zucker has taken down a once proud and successful network, his "non-personal, business decisions" have been wrong way too many times, the mess that NBC has is the price of incompetence. I hope Conan and his staff are able to relocate to a well run channel. BTW Conan has been REALLY funny these past weeks, when he was with Ricky Gervais...classic.
"It's just business" is the most ridiculous and short-sighted comment Zucker could make at this juncture. Sure, it might seem easier and all neat-and-tidy to wrap it up in the cold, hard-lined perspective of a business deal gone sour.
But millions of viewers do not tune in to Leno OR Conan because they are patrons of a business. There is no exchange of money or product. People tune in because they ENJOY the show. More than that, they like, in some cases even love, a particular host. Maybe not "love" romantically or passionately or sexually, but one chooses to watch one show over another because of the relationship – however superficial – formed between host and audience. Why do you think they talk directly to the camera? They are establishing and maintaining a RELATIONSHIP.
We weren't sold a bad piece of meat or a faulty car. We came to enjoy the face, the voice, the mind, and the heart of a particular flesh-and-blood human. Connections were made, whether through humor or emotion. How many rallies do you see outside the NYSE when there's a bad day in the trades? Do any of them spray paint their hair or hold up signs, like the crowd did today in Chicago? Those people demonstrate the very real PERSONAL element that causes this whole issues to transcend beyond mere business.
Conan and Leno didn't make bad business decisions – they continued to perform and reach out and form personal (and yes, entertaining) relationships with their audience. Zucker was a part of the bad business decision. The business architects that screwed up should be shown the door.
But please don't insult the intelligence of anyone who watches Charlie Rose that The Tonight Show is "just business." We watch MSNBC and CNN and what not for "business shows."
...and to try and save his hide by bringing up a little "perspective" in comparison to Haiti? Classless. Tasteless. Insensitive. And just plain wrong.
But then again, it's just business.
Ken and Dave, you guys are absolutely right. I've always been a Leno fan, but I also like Conan. I think Conan has done a really good job with the show and should have been given the opportunity to build his audience. I think Leno is going to have a really hard time re-establishing his audience after this, regardless of the role he played in his return to the show.
Zucker just doesn't get it. It may be just business for him, but it's personal to alot of us. We invest time with these people day in and day out, and when you see how unfairly Conan is being treated its hard not to feel it personally.
Also, I think O'Brien should have been faulted a bit for not recognizing that there was a problem when Leno took over at 10 p.m. He shouldn't have accepted having his predecessor anywhere near NBC.
Just business? It's someone's LIFE. I totally hope this comes back to bite the execs in their behinds. I will never watch the Tonight Show again. Leno needs to retire. If Leno was more considerate, then HE should have said "NO...I've done my time, let Conan have his day in the sun." But that tells you something about Leno. I mean, it's not like he's hurting for money, right? It's not like he would not have other offers.
Who let the parrots in on the act? I see Rosalind and Carson sure think outside the box when it comes to their opinions on Zucker.
Anyway, it was a business decision. However, back in 1992, the network had the same problem. Letterman decided against being loyal to the network and bailed. O'Brien decided to be loyal to the network and it looks like it's biting him in the butt.
People familiar with the Letterman-Leno saga in 1992 know that Letterman was also offered "The Tonight Show" shortly after Leno took over and refused it. Maybe O'Brien should have taken a cue from him.
Chances are, O'Brien will move to another network. His problem will be going against two more established performers in Leno and Letterman. Letterman dodged his two major controversies and probably will be stronger than Leno at 11:35 when the move is made in February. And, thus NBC may not be much better off than now.
Why has Comcast, who now ownes NBC, step in and get rid of the executives making all these mistakes at NBC?
Conan got screwed, for the simple fact that NBC made the move for Leno to go on at 10pm. In doing so, many of Leno's viewers simply followed him, therefore major brand cannibalism resulted. If Leno just stepped down, all those previous viewers would have just made the switch to Conan.
Of course this is all seperate and aside from the fact that Leno is not a respected comedian, a snake in the grass, and has the comedic brand of humor of a wet blanket: topical and uncomfortable
Wow. That guy is ugly
The people running n.b.c. are all idiots.However i'm glad to see Jay back where he belongs and as far as Conan he can cry into his 40 million.
Zucker just cost NBC $40 million dollars, destroyed Jay Leno's reputation, added yet another stain to the Tonight Show franchise, and forced the already weak NBC schedule to be re-shuffled. Screw death threats, if this man keeps his job, NBC Universal is pathetic.
Good luck on Fox Conan, i've wanted you to go there for 5 years. Can't wait to see the new show.
Since Conan moved to the tonight show, I have NEVER watched it. I NEVER thought Conan was funny on Late Nite. I dreaded when Jay was going to hand over the show. The only mistake NBC made was ever giving the show to Conan. Now when I see the latest clips on morning news of Conan's monologues and of him acting like a whining toddler, just reinforces that the man is truly immature and doesn't deserve the Tonight Show Host Job. Good Luck to NBC in figuring this out. Good riddance to Conan the Toddler!
Nice try Zucker. He's saying this AFTER he had Ebersol try to tear Conan apart in the New York Times. Seriously, how many mistakes does this guy have to make before he gets fired?
And not only did Conan only have 7 months but there were many reasons why he didn't get viewers immediately.
1. Jay started saying more than a year ago that he didn't want to go. Ok, so Jay fans don't want to watch Conan when...
2. Jay gets a show earlier in the night, why stick around to watch a similar show later that nigth?
3. The whole Letterman blackmail scandal, people were tuning into Letterman to hear what he had to say about the scandal etc. That lasted at least for 2 months of his first 6 months.
4. NBC made it water his show down. Many of his fans were still waiting for him to get his groove down and feel more comfortable letting in some aspects of his old show.
Zucker should've been apologizing from the beginning about messing this up. One BIG mistake was announcing this whole change of moving Leno to 11:30 without consulting Conan first. So it seems the public was finding out at the same time Conan was – NOT COOL. That would put anyone on the defensive. Luckily Conan is a great, funny guy and his letter to the People of Earth was great.
Bye NBC, you've lost a viewer. I'm already avoiding your channel. Zucker had already given up on anyway. How else do you explain getting rid of the 10 pm dramas?
What's missing from this conversation is that none of the late night shows are funny. I only ever watch the opening monologue and then change it quickly before any interviews. The networks should just do away with late night talk shows completely.
I'm not a huge fan of Conan O'Brien, but they moved the guy and his staff to Los Angeles and give him 7 months. It's hardly enough time to establish any type of real audience numbers of your own. Also, NBC's idea of putting Leno on at 10pm was catastrophic to local affiliates. They should fire Jeff Zucker for being a moron, and having no control of his own network. I'd laugh if Leno can't acheive the ratings he once had, and gave up.
Zucker's initial decisions were hasty but his ability to step-up like a man and admit his mistakes is admirable. Conan is a immature 40-something-yera old that should have never been given The Tonight Show to begin with. Zucker is right that making death threats toward him is well out of proportion and it's hard to feel sad for Conan when he'll receive more money than most of us can even dream about. Conan's like the embarrassing relative that you ask to hide in the closet whenever company comes over. Glad to see him leaving the NBC family and godspeed to Zucker, Leno and the people of Haiti. Adios muchacho to Conan and Andy Richter!
The whole thing is silly. Jay Leno should NEVER been moved from the Tonight Show. The brass should NEVER have promised Conan the Tonight show. If they kept it the way it was, and gave the Tonight Show a refresh, then you have two good programs.
Instead, Jay will be in, Conan will be out, probably over to FOX to his own 11:35 slot, to bury Jay, and Letterman will bury them both. No Zucker, is not all knowing...on the kontrary, he made the Bonehead move for the decade.
I will personally not be watching the tonight show anymore after Conan leaves, he was the perfect guy to bring in a new generation of tonight show viewers and they opted to prefer the same old crowd that thinks Leno is funny. How can anyone think that guy is funny? It is completely beyond me, I mean his jokes are lame and seem to be written for 10 year olds. I hope Conan goes to another network and crushes NBC.
Zucker is the one who should be fired. NBC is in shambles because of him! he is a douche!
I am a die hard fan of Conan until the end, but I do believe that the "Tonight Show" isn't really the right show for him anyway, no matter how bad he himself wanted it. Conan isn't a ratings warrior, that's isn't the game he plays. I think his next show should be something in between the Late Show and the Tonight Show...whatever that would look like.
Zucker needs to go. He made a dino-sized mistake. Jay should step as he had his run. His 10pm show was crap. The scripted and badly acted skits were lame. It seemed like he got a new set of novice writers. I love Conan but rarely watched before because he was on too late so now I really bummed that he's leaving. NBC late night will lose me if Conan leaves. Time to check out Letterman again.
NBC's failures have come because they don't know their audiences anymore. Mr. Zucker took highly successful shows like the Law & Order franchises and used them as a vehicle for a political agenda that Americans do not share. He also continually insulted his audiences - especially Christians by making every other episode of the last season about some crazed Christian who was bent on murder. Any episode, however, that feature a Muslim as a potential murderer always end up with the police having to apologize, because "they rushed to judgement" on the poor, poor man. The America/religion bashing drove his audiences away. He should step down.
It may be just business – it looks like bad business to me. I never liked Jay Leno's show before – I absolutely won't watch his "Oops, I goofed!" return.
He's run NBC into the ground. He should be fired.
The main loss here is the legacy of the Tonight Show. Mr. Carson must be rolling over in his grave. Forever tainted now. I feel bad for Conan because it was a dream of his and he'll forever be the only host that was "not bringing in the ratings".
I love how he makes it sound like it was Conan's decision to leave. Please. Conan just said the Tonight Show shouldn't move. It was NBCs decision then to kick Conan out and give the spot to Jay. If Jay had any integrity he would leave. I love how Leno is trying to make it sound like he is a victim in all this also. I hope his ratings stink.
Conan O'Brien will be fine. I worry about the folks below the line who moved to California for work. What will they do?
No one should be sending Zucker death threats - that's just ridiculous, and he is right - they are more important stuff going on in the world then a show being cancelled.
Zucker and leno are cads...loosers....
NBC has had the WORST television in years. They are circling the drain. While everyone but Zucker knew Leno at 10 was going to be an epic failure, it is more about pr. I also think Leno will keep the "older" crowd and continue to lose to not only Letterman but The Daily Show and Colbert Report. Zucker, you are grasping for the short term, not the long run. And as someone who is in sales will tell you: reality doesn't matter, it is about what YOUR viewing audience believes. And we believe you totally screwed Conon. So we will follow him. That was officially the last thing on NBC I ever watched.
Dan... the ONLY reason Conan's ratings are high right now is because of the controversy. Conan is a goofy, immature clown who does not appeal to the masses (and doesn't try to do so either). His brand of comedy NEVER belonged on the Tonight Show and his unwillingness to change ANY part of his show (other than the name from "Late Night" to "The Tonight Show") is why Conan failed and will continue to fail. I can only hope that Conan goes head-to-head with Jay so that all of the Conan fans will see which host gets the highest ratings.
Giving Conan only 7 months to establish his version of the Tonight Show? Not very reasonable. I doubt if Leno was given the same amount of time after taking over for Johnny Carson, he would've succeeded either.
Conan O'Brien's Tonight Show is actually closer to the type of show Johnny had, and frankly much funnier than Leno.
NBC has lost me as a loyal viewer of The Tonight Show. Conan, hope you land a deal elsewhere, because you'll be missed.
I'm really not sure how Zucker thinks anyone will buy what he's selling after so many mistakes and so much money lost at NBC, even with one of the best prime time comedy lineups since the Seinfeld era.
This is a clear case of "oops, got cold feet." They laid out a strategy several years ago, and they should have waited at least 2 years before going back on it. Leno's reputation (no matter how "unassuming" he may want to seem) is ruined, NBC loses someone they've poured absolutely millions into as a brand, and the network actually ends up being picketed.
Nope, sorry Zucker, there's no reason to believe you're making a good decision now... this is about as bad a track record as someone can have.
NBC is on life support. Plug the plug and move on
The best thing for NBC would be to let Zucker go. He has been there to long, and if NBC wants to make it a profit again, they need a change at the top.
I think they look like a bunch of morons right now. What a mess.
There was a perfect way out for NBC that would have been much better than the current debacle. They should have cancelled Jay's show, and offered him an opportunity to do a series of specials and develop and pitch a new show of some sort. They could have kept Conan that way, giving him opportunity to grow an audience. If at some point in the future, Conan's ratings still did not rise, they could have replaced him with someone else (even Jay) at that point, and thereby please the most people possible and doing some smart business moves.
What they have wound up doing is 1) giving David Letterman (who was always much more orinal than Jay anyway) ammunition for night after night of killer material; 2) losing Conan to another network; 3) ticking off the audience who sees Jay and NBC as the bad guys, and 4) give Conan loads and loads of publicity, so that when he does start a new show, it will stand a great chance of beating NBC's programing.
Great move NBC!......NOT.
If he were all that wise, it would have been Leno that was let go. Conans ratings are higher then anyone else right now.
I understand the business aspect, but I don't think Jay Leno will be received very well if it means kicking Conan to the curb. Seems more logical to let Jay go out on a high note than risk forcing him back in and dealing with the 'bully' appearance he will have with viewers.
Poor Mr. Zucker. Maybe he should follow the example he sets for others by stepping aside since he is a colossal failure in getting NBC to do anything other than stay on life support.
And, he's dead on about perspective. Who really gives a rat's behind. Things going on in Haiti should give a lot of people pause.
Drinking the Koolaid Rosalind? No, he doesn't. He is an impatient, Wasp-y cherub, who thinks acting like a big boy translates to making rash, irreponsible decisions, in the most awkward and anti-professional way possible. Give Conan a couple of years to grow for goodness sakes. Leno was failing in his ratings after first taking over the Tonight Show for nearly a decade before generating genuine momentum. Leno should be the bigger man, stuff a doughnut in Zucker's red face, and step down.
I hope Conan finds a good home somewhere else, and people keep criticizing what a horrible job Zucker has been doing at NBC. Conan wasn't the problem – the network is. Some "leader" he's been.
You say "He is wise and knows what he is doing". What is your reason for that statement. Do you really know the history between Zucker and Conan? All I have to say, is I'm with Coco!
Rosalind, you trust he knows what he is doing based on what? He is so ridiculous that he would even use the tragedy in Haiti to excuse himself...one has NOTHING to do with the other. The bottom line is that he is disrupting the lives of countless people, including O'Brien's, all to appease Leno. I hope both Leno and NBC fail.
I like how he deflected to Haiti. Ok Mr. Zucker...your "business" plans thus far have cost the network millions and tarnished the reputations of both Leno and Conan (depending on how you look at it)
With that, shouldn't you be hitting the road too? After all, it's just business and you made bad business moves.
Smart man to admit a mistake. This is like Classic Coke. Research and demographic shifts do not offer enough nuances here to have made the decision in the first place. A gut call was to create a whole new format process and stop trying to fit square pegs into round holes. Conan's audience is feisty and articulate but not the bulk of any late night audience and should have been catered too completely differently.
Leno needs to raise his hand and be very open when he comes back. He will have lost two segments, one to Letterman (easier move than to Conan) and the other group that might just have switched off completely. He will need some stunning guests and very good press coverage in the normal media to win these people back but it will take a while.
I wish both Leno and Conan the very best because they are both incredibly good. However it was utterly niave to think that both would offer a natural transition for their respective audiences. Something went horribly wrong in NBC strategy and planning and they should think more before just looking at charts and assuming the numbers tell us the whole story.
Zucker is a douche.
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