Jay Leno vs. Conan O’Brien: The Battle for The Tonight Show Gets Ugly
While deals are hammered out behind the scenes, Jay and Conan take shots at each other, and Jimmy Kimmel comes to Conan’s defense.
-Kathryn H. Cusimano
Rumors are swirling about the future of The Tonight Show and NBC’s late-night lineup. The biggest late-night stars aren’t holding back, and Conan is preparing for the end.
TMZ reported yesterday that Jay Leno will get his old job at The Tonight Show back in an 11:35 p.m.-12:35 a.m. time slot.
NBC has officially denied this report, but according to The Hollywood Reporter, unnamed NBC sources say that this is the most likely outcome, though no deal has been finalized yet.
Jay Leno managed to crack a few jokes aimed at Conan O’Brien during his monologue before receiving a serious smackdown from ABC’s late-night host Jimmy Kimmel.
While Conan O’Brien did not confirm rumors that his show will end next Friday, January 22, he seems to be preparing for the end:
“Since there’s a chance that The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien may be wrapping up in the near future, I think it’s only right that tonight we take a nostalgic look back at a classic Tonight Show moment.”
Conan also addressed the rumor that NBC head Jeff Zucker plans to enforce a non-compete clause that will keep Conan from taking another television job for three and a half years. Conan said he has a standing offer from a porn production company that he is seriously considering (don’t put it past him!), and he reviewed his ideas for a raunchy film (many of the titles are jabs at Jay Leno).