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He's got 'Tonight': Looks like Conan's out and Jay's back in

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"This is all YOUR fault, buddy!" Conan O'Brien on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" in 2003. (Getty Images)


The Conan-Leno news is breaking fast and furious today, in little chunks. Here's what we know so far:

People is reporting that Conan O'Brien will leave "The Tonight Show" after Jan. 22 -- next Friday! "Conan does not currently plan on doing any more new shows after next week," says the source.

NBC claims a hiatus for the show beginning Jan. 25 has been on their books for weeks, before the current feud began.

Meanwhile, TMZ says the deal is down for Jay Leno to return as host of "The Tonight Show," for a full hour beginning at 10:35 p.m.


Hollywood blogger Nikki Finke also reports that tensions between Conan and NBC chief smart guy Jeff Zucker have boiled over:

Zucker "is threatening to ice Conan", according to his reps. "Zucker said, 'I'll keep you off the air for 3 1/2 years.' Which doesn't have a chance in hell of happening. What I really think Zucker wants is to hold him off the market for at least six months to a year until the dust settles and Leno is secure and Conan is squelched." One rep even compared Zucker to "Darth Vader" because the NBCU chief "has been so evil" about this.

Sun-Times columnist Bill Zwecker also spoke today with folks behind the scene and offered this insight on the feud -- which is not necessarily new. Apparently, Conan and his camp have long thought Jay's style was old and busted, and Jay and his camp think Conan is a spoiled, Harvard brat.

So it looks like, at least through next Friday, Conan's got "Tonight" ... because NBC's plans don't include him ... but who needs tomorrow ...?

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2 Comments

This is the dumbest thing NBC can do. I refuse to watch Jay and I hope the Tonight Show goes down in flames. Conan brought a new fresh spin to the tonight show. I actually started watching late night regularly when Conan took over.

Don't blame Conan for low ratings. NBC is low across the board. They should have just gotten rid of Jay Leno all together. By putting him before the news was what did NBC in. You need an hour drama there.

I feel bad for both comedians/hosts actually. Conan actually has stuff that is funny - he's just more of the straightlaced type who had to follow after an admittedly good talkshow host.

The problem is NBC - they shouldn't have rushed Leno's departure. People knew that this happened, and I think took it out on Conan. It's not fair to him anymore than it was to Jay to force him to leave "Tonight" so soon.

In fact, I think Leno will lose a lot of viewers - at least for a time - because they think it's all his fault. While it may be partially, it's clear to me that it's not - it's their company.

I truly wish both of the men the best - they both are very good in their own way, and they should do well. Hopefully this won't put an end to Conan's career or Jay's either.

NBC - the only people who screwed up are you: You deserved Conan's letter and barbs as much as you did and possibly in the future from Jay.

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