and JEFF ZUCKER - President and CEO of NBC Universal Television Entertainment
I am writing to show my support for Conan O'Brien. It is shameful how NBC is treating him. Just admit it: Jay Leno @ 10PM was a bad idea... I can't believe you guys are going backwards rather than forwards. Me and my family have been strong supporters of NBC and its programming, even through these years of dismal ratings. Conan represents the future. Leno represents the past.
Way to go. Smooth move. Fact is, Leno said he was going to retire - then he wanted to come back - or you wanted him to come back. So you gave him a new time slot in prime time. As a result - his show ruined your 10 pm slot - the late local news - and then Conan's Tonight Show gig.
I hope you let Conan go - so that he may go on to other, better things. But you look like an organization with ZERO class. You promise a guy something. You give it to him. He moves his crew and their families across the country - and then after 7 months - you screw him over.
Way to go. You stay classy NBC. No wonder you're in 4th place.
P.s What will you do when Leno's return to late night fails to get the ratings he used to? He's yesterday's news.
side note: I have always been a fan of late night television. over the years I've watched Johnny Carson, Letterman, Leno, O'Brien, Jimmy Fallon and even on occasion, Carson Daly (i'm a night owl). I even gave Leno's new 10pm show a chance - but frankly, it was horrible. really horrible. REgardless, I respected Leno and thought he was o.k. But now I'm thinking his ego is just too big.
I kind of thought Leno would do the respectable thing and tell NBC that he would not pursue the Tonight Show - but according to reports, He's getting that chair back.
So Conan's getting the shaft. Too bad for him. He's a creative guy with a fresh perspective. At least he's taking the high road:
Last Thursday, NBC executives told me they intended to move the Tonight Show to 12:05 to accommodate the Jay Leno Show at 11:35. For 60 years the Tonight Show has aired immediately following the late local news. I sincerely believe that delaying the Tonight Show into the next day to accommodate another comedy program will seriously damage what I consider to be the greatest franchise in the history of broadcasting. The Tonight Show at 12:05 simply isn’t the Tonight Show. Also, if I accept this move I will be knocking the Late Night show, which I inherited from David Letterman and passed on to Jimmy Fallon, out of its long-held time slot. That would hurt the other NBC franchise that I love, and it would be unfair to Jimmy.
So it has come to this: I cannot express in words how much I enjoy hosting this program and what an enormous personal disappointment it is for me to consider losing it. My staff and I have worked unbelievably hard and we are very proud of our contribution to the legacy of The Tonight Show. But I cannot participate in what I honestly believe is its destruction. Some people will make the argument that with DVRs and the Internet a time slot doesn’t matter. But with the Tonight Show, I believe nothing could matter more.
There has been speculation about my going to another network but, to set the record straight, I currently have no other offer and honestly have no idea what happens next. My hope is that NBC and I can resolve this quickly so that my staff, crew, and I can do a show we can be proud of, for a company that values our work.
Have a great day and, for the record, I am truly sorry about my hair; it’s always been that way.