So Jay Leno moved from The Tonight Show to 10pm every weeknight. It was a gamble because a) it was every weeknight night, and b) some wondered if Leno's humour would work at that timeslot.
Conan takes over The Tonight Show. Some wondered if his humour would work at that timeslot.
While I have enjoyed watching both over the years, when Leno moved to 10pm I have to admit I didn't watch as much. Not sure why. And sometimes watching Conan on Late Night was downright painful.
Conan's humour was more edgy, less conservative. Now, he had to please this conservative audience rather than please the college crowd. It is hard to watch him at times because he looks akward. His bits are funny, imo, but you can tell he doesn't have confidence in himself anymore.
So Jay has been losing the audience at 10pm. The affiliates are upset because their news audiences are down. Subsequently, The Tonight Show is no longer pulling in the audiences like it did when Jay was the host.
Now NBC has announced Jay may have his own show for half an hour at 11:35pm and Conan will still have The Tonight Show if he agrees to start at 12:05am, and Jimmy Fallon can start at 1:05am, or he can shift to another network. If he goes to another network, it would suit NBC well because otherwise they would have to pay Conan $40mil until his contract is up.
There is a question as to whether other networks would take him. ABC is doing well with Nightline. Fox makes money with reruns because they can run more commercials and all they have to pay is royalty fees rather than full-time employees.
I feel bad for Conan. He's done well for NBC for many years and he's suddenly about to get pissed on. I've read that Conan had orchestrated his move to The Tonight Show years ago, thus forcing Jay Leno out before he was ready. I don't know how true that is - it could very well be true - but I also heard something about Jay screwing Conan over by not relinquishing his position by a certain time (there was a delay between when Conan left Late Night and Jay left The Tonight Show).
What I'm wondering about this whole dilemma is this:
Is it possible that when Jay went to 10pm he was guaranteed that if the whole thing became a bust he'd get his old job back? And is he playing at being ignorant about the whole thing?
The way Hollywood works, it wouldn't surprise me.