Friday, January 29, 2010
Leno Vs O' Brian
Perhaps it is my young age, but when this all came out, I sided with Conan. I viewed it as... NBC going back on a promise of a lifetime to O' Brian, and Leno betraying the friendship he had with Conan by selfishly taking back the Tonight Show. Most of the country I think thought along the same lines, probably since its a lot of my age group who is staying up so late watching the Tonight Show.
But I did not know all the facts. Oprah said and I quote:
"America has taken sides. And a lot of people are not on your side".
Apparently, in 2004 when Leno was the no. one in entertainment he was confronted in his dressing room by NBC people, informing- not telling- him that they were going to hand the gauntlet to Conan O' Brian, and make him the head of the Tonight Show. Leno admitted to being stunned and hurt- As would any human being who had an ounce of pride in their work- and requested simply to stay along until he became no. 2.
In 2009 thats just what happened, but NBC didnt want to let him go. After he had already announced his retirement, they made him leave a month early so that he couldnt go to any other station and promised him that he could keep his staff from his former show, just take a months "vacation" almost, and then launch right into the 'Jay Leno' show.
And of COURSE Jay took it, he was devastated hed just had the rug pulled out from under him with the "Tonight Show", he just.. was in my opinion a heck of a lot more composed than Conan was when as he called it himself his "dream" was taken away. Jay was competing against major dramas on other networks- thats what I always watched! He admits on "Oprah" to frankly not thinking about the fact that he was to be competing against them, he was just so excited to have kept his staff, because they became like family to him (shown strongly in the last episode where he hosted the "Tonight Show" and brought out sixty-four children that had been birthed by parents that were staff members who had all intermarried during the duration of the show's exsistance. "Most people like to say that their company is a family, but I think we re really a family-" and then he launched into an explanation of that last classic episode where all the staff offspring fathered during the show paraded out on stage.) ((Oh, long parenthesis, my former English teacher Ms. Gothelf would cringe. I think of her every time I realize I am using bad grammar, but I have trouble correcting myself because of the seizures. I had one-tiny- in the shower this morning...Ach du leibre, I digress pathetically!))
Anyway, Conan seemed to... throw a hissy fit of sorts to me. At the time I thought it was completely justified, but for God's sake, they tried to offer him a slot just a half hour pushed back, and it still would have been the "Tonight Show". His ratings were down 49%, Jays were down 14%, so it made sense to put Jay first though NBC had not initially planned to de-throne O' Brian as the host of the tonight show. I really see that as a fair thing for everyone. It got everyone out of the way of the dramas, and all it seemed to me that Conan was upset about was the fact that Jay was before him. He said that in one of his jokes, essentially: they gave me the "Tonight Show" and now they want to put Jay Leno in front of me! That makes sense!" Well yes, Conan, it did.
But Conan was a good diplomat too. I'm fond of how he stood up for his staff and fought to get them all severance pay, though i do not recall the amount, and I believe even gave them some of his own money. Then in his last episode he said he hated cynicsm (ack misspelling attack!) and asked the young people who had so strongly sided with him not to be cynical and anti=Leno, keeping up grudges once he was gone. I respect Mr. O' Brian SO much for that. He choked up and so did I a bit.
Like Oprah said "I understood it the way you explained it, and there are sooo many people who didnt seem to.. I mean, so many people seem to be siding with Conan I thought, like, am I missing something here?" But she wasnt. It was media manipulation, and we've all seen it before. I feel bad for both Mr. Leno and Mr. O' Brian.. True I think one handled it a bit more elegantly and with a tad more decorm, but perhaps that comes with the silver hairs on his head and mere age.. Aren't the old suppost to be wiser and less rash?
I do think Conan was just a bit rash, I think he will regret leaving the "Tonight Show". In my un-expert oppinion, he let pride get ahead of him and when he learnt that his rival was suppost to be ahead of him it stung. The truth stings, like I said, he was down FOURTY-NINE PERCENT. His ratings almost definately would have gone up had he been on the later time slot as executives proposed.
I feel like this was one big crappy mess. With two victims Jay Leno and Conan O'Brian, and thats all that matters. NBC bullied around two of our most beloved comics, and then the media made the country take sides. Its a sad situation, but I'm glad to understand it..What really occured I mean. I hate thinking badly of people who do not deserve so.