Dear NBC,

There have been rumors circulating about the future of your late-night lineup for months now, and so every new piece of news must be taken with a novelty-sized grain of salt. Earlier today, a radio station in Los Angeles claimed that The Jay Leno Show was on the verge of cancellation, but this report was unsubstantiated, and also a radio station? What’s that? Now, a new rumor has appeared on garbage website (seriously, no offense, but you guys are kind of the worst, and you know it*) that Jay Leno’s show will be put on hiatus during the winter Olympics, and that when it returns, it will be in the 11:30 PM time slot.

OK, I just have one question: THE FUCK?

Now, to be fair to whomever deserves fairness, this may not actually be true. You, NBC, have made no official statement to confirm (or deny) TMZ’s story. But in spite of how gross TMZ is**, or perhaps BECAUSE of how gross TMZ is, I actually believe that they have a certain amount of journalistic integrity. Enough to avoid publishing something until they have backed their shit up. So, at least for the sake of argument, let’s assume that this story is true, and that you are planning on moving Jay Leno back to the 11:30 slot. I’d like to return to my original question:


Here’s the thing, NBC, I actually WANT YOU TO DO WELL! Which is weird. I mean, you are a faceless multi-billion dollar corporation, owned by GE, a leading member of the military industrial complex. And yet. It might simply be an effect of expert marketing and the appeal of bright colors, but I have fond feelings towards you. You’ve done so many great things. And you continue to do some great things. Your Thursday night line-up remains unbeatable, for example. I’m really enjoying your new show Community. Saturday Night Live! Hoda Kotb, in her way! You remain a powerful force in the world of entertainment.


Jay Leno is the worst. I know that millions of people disagree with me, and that you have the monthly bank statements to prove it, but I promise you that the world is on a different path. Jay Leno is a losing strategy. He is depressingly unimaginative, aggressively mediocre, and painfully unfunny. His success at The Tonight Show was a forgettable cultural blip. And even if putting him back in the 11:30 slot is a solution to your ratings concerns, that solution is temporary. You will be building your future on a bed of sand, or some other terrible metaphor for something that’s going to fall apart and provide no support in the coming years as younger audiences abandon you.

Not to mention the fact that the problems you would supposedly be working to solve are problems of your own design. You seem to feel that Conan is underperforming in his role, as if there is any other way to perform with THE JAY LENO SHOW AS THE LEAD-IN. Even Jay Leno fans agree that his new show is a piece of crap, but you’ve ensured that new potential audiences for Conan won’t have the patience to stick around for The Tonight Show. It’s like shooting someone in the leg and then complaining that they don’t keep up. It’s like shooting someone in the fucking FACE.

The fact is, NBC, you just look like you don’t have any idea what you’re doing, and for a network that has been struggling to even remain in the Top 4, much less dominate the airwaves, that is not a good look. If nothing else, this is the time for you to be TAKING CHANCES. You’re like Liam Neeson in Taken! You have nothing left to lose! And your daughter has been kidnapped by Albanian sex-traders because for some reason we are supposed to believe that kidnapping American tourists is cheaper than just drugging poor people in war-torn countries? OK, Taken had a few logic problems with its plot. BUT THE POINT IS: you could earn yourself a lot of bad blood by making a rash desperate move to go back to some false idyllic moment in the past when your schedule wasn’t that great anyways, or you could drop Jay Leno (who would have nothing but AN AIRPLANE HANGAR FULL OF CARS AND MILLIONS AND MILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO EASE THE PAIN), support your people, take a couple of risks, and start being a network that people were actually interested in again.

Or, you could just put crappy Jay Leno back at 11:30 because you ain’t care.***


*Let’s just pick a fight with fucking EVERYONE.
**Just to give you a sense of how gross TMZ is, besides their daily reporting on who pooped their pants on a yacht, or whatever, I got a publicity email from them shorty after the death of Michael Jackson in which they applauded themselves for having their highest traffic rates ever that week. Good job, TMZ! Michael Jackson’s death was awesome for you, and everyone is just so proud! Gross.
***It is going to be hilarious how much time I put into this Open Letter when the story turns out to be FAKE.

Comments (109)
  1. *slow clap*


  2. I swear NBC plays favourites based solely on who has the biggest hair at any given moment.

  3. Dunham’d indeed.

  4. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  5. Even Jay Leno fans agree that his new show is a piece of crap

    That’s exactly what I don’t get about this whole thing! It’s not like the 10:00 show is a ratings juggernaut as it is, so how the hell does NBC expect these non-existent viewers to suddenly stay awake 90 minutes later to not watch the show they didn’t watch before?

    I think the only thing that would outrage me more is if they leave that gigglybones Fallon in the later slot and kick Conan to the curb.

  6. if this is true, i take back every nice thing I’ve ever said about humans.

  7. These assholes don’t deserve Conan O’Brien.

    • *slow clap, which gets faster and is joined by a multitude of clapping, cheering people*

      • I was just wondering about that trope. Where did it come from? Had to have been a film because the number of extras it would require wouldn’t be feasible for the stage, and obviously had to have been a talkie. Surely it couldn’t have ever happened in real life, right?

  8. Viva La Conan!

  9. umm…is NBC owned by GE anymore? I thought i had heard otherwise but have no source nor any interest in actually googling it.

  10. NBC is so dedicated to “greening up” their business that they’ve cut their brain emissions by 67% or something.

  11. “Conan may make fun of me, but at least he’s funny. Jay Leno hasn’t told a joke in 15 years.” Gary Busey, the voice of reason.

  12. Werttrew’s stages of grief RE: Leno moving to 11:30 and dumping Conan to who-knows-where.

    • funny, my last stage of grief is also an old woman on death?s welcome mat.
      but my fourth stage is not a masturbating dog. no! bad boy!

    • My image of your desktop is one gigantic folder icon labled GIFs.

      • I’ve always imagined that he has a folder called “GIFs” and then inside that folder there are a bunch of other folders labeled with words like “sadness” and “anger” and “joy.” This is what I’m getting at: Do you sort your gifs by emotion or what, werttrew? I’ve always wanted to know.

        • Nope. I sort them with a brief title like “Barney from How I met your Mother commits hari-kari” or “The Golden Girls shake their breasts” or “Sliding panda bears” or “Amy Poehler blinks in wtf confusion” (all actual gifs, btw). I just keep track of ‘em in head rather than categorizing them systematically, which would probably make more sense but I’m too lazy to fix my system.

          • waitwaitwait. you compose tumblr posts entirely devoted to: scoring all monster’s ball commenters, describing how to post pictures on videogum, and listing (in ridiculous detail) all the videogum inside jokes/memes, and yet you are “too lazy” organize your .gifs in folders?


          • you need a gif librarian! i’m a librarian! and i’m looking for a new job! you’d have to give me health insurance, but we could work it out. also: i’m a children’s librarian so i might talk to you about Five Little Peppers and How they Grew the whole time. this could be great. this could be great.

          • Dewy Decimal Gifs

          • I blew my health insurance budget on hiring Al Kaprielian to do weather for me. Sorry.

  13. RT @GaryJBusey: Conan may make fun of me, but at least he’s funny. Jay Leno hasn’t told a joke in 15 years.
    There you go, NBC. Even Gary Busey thinks you’re nuts.

  14. Isn’t NBC owned by Comcast now? My theory is that Jay Leno is willing to to get “COMCAST’S CABLE/INTERNET/PHONE SERVICES ARE A GOOD VALUE AND THEIR CUSTOMER SERVICE IS TOP NOTCH” tattooed on his face in exchange for his old time slot.

  15. the thing that worries me the most about the possibility of conan being taken of the air, is the fact that as much as i really do love conan, i rarely ever watch him on the tonight show. i think a lot of other conan fans can say the same thing. i wish all the conan-support translated into conan-viewers, but as far as i can tell it doesn’t.
    conan is obviously the best, and jay leno is obviously far far far from the best, but i’m still not convinced that the tonight show is right for conan, seeing as i never turn it on. i watched a lot more when he was on late night. also its not right for conan to be up against colbert.

    i am going to make a point to watch conan tomorrow night though. aziz ansari is on.

    • I am one of those people. I used to watch Conan every night back when Andy was initially on and then gradually stopped cause I got busy. Now that I am back to late night TV watching, it’s Daily Show/Colbert Report.

      Plus, I just don’t have the patience for the late night talk show format. There is not a good enough ratio of laughs/time spent with the monologue and celebrity ass-kissing.

      • Riiight: now that there are more than three channels, the core format of “late night talk shows” works against them. They’re almost designed to be something you don’t turn off, not something to be sought out.
        Viz.– I DVR the things I love, and I love Conan, but it’s never occurred to me to DVR him..? I JUST BROKE A VENN DIAGRAM.

    • i really think that the 12:05 spot will be better for conan, if what the NYTs is reporting is right.
      just watch colbert over leno. EASY CHOICE.

  16. I wish they would give Conan Jimmy’s band and writing staff and musical guests. That would be the best. Keep the old writers tho I just mean assimilate AD Miles into that shit.

  17. Please, NBC, think of Andy Richter! His whole being already oozes sadness. His half-hearted one-liners can’t conceal his broken spirit. I seriously don’t think the man can handle any more rejection.

  18. not that it makes much difference, but it’s comcast now, not ge, that is nbc’s parent.

  19. Gabe, are you implying that you no longer find it funny when headline / restaurant ad writers misspell “Chicken” as “Children”? Because that sh*t will never stop being funny to me.

  20. Just keep Jay Leno and his big face AWAY FROM MY TV!

  21. The Comcast deal didn’t go through yet, folks. I’m pretty sure Gabe writes about media for a living, such as it is. So stop trying to be smarter than your teacher.

  22. Let’s face it, Conan is doing poorly as well as a good chunk of the Thursday night lineup despite how good it is on top of a kind of crappy lineup other than that. They want to cut the cord now and get the lead-in audience back for all the shows aren’t doing anything prior to the Tonight Show slot and face it, Leno’s unique audience is substantially larger then Conan’s and the Thursday lineup combined over the course of a week. Stupid.

  23. I agree with all the main points. Jay Leno is not funny at all, COnan is very funny, going backwards doesn’t solve things, etc. I just saw COnan’s taping two days ago, and loved it.

    But one thing I’ve never understood is the idea of the “lead-in”. Does anyone here ever, and I mean ever, turn one channel on and leave it on from 8 pm to 12:30 am? Or EVEN from 10 pm to 11:30 pm? All TV stories talk about this, and I don’t get it at all. Is it possible there are people somewhere who still don’t have remotes, and they turn the TV on but can’t be bothered to get up and change it because they prefer Dave or Conan?

    Here’s an alternate possibility:

    Affiliate news shows are terrible. When they have a show before them with an audience who tries to keep up on the news (college-educated?), some people see a promo and stay tuned. But no one ever tunes in just to them, because they are terrible. Then, they put a show that has a fairly incurious audience (THe JAY LENO show) or, at least, generously, one who prefers the big news shows to local news, so they turn off Jay at 11 and turn on “Friends” reruns or something. And since no one was tuning into those news shows before, because they suck, now REALLY no one is watching them.

    Then, Conan goes on at 11:30, and millions of people love him, but it’s not enough millions, because even though most people that like Conan also liked Dave, now somehow unless COnan beats Dave, which nobody really wants to happen because they like Dave and it’d be sad, Conan’s a failure. A failure who millions of people love and watch every day.

    • Maybe more people would watch the local news if they had MORE stories about the garlic plants that smell like weed and keep the vampires away. But seriously, lots of people watch the local news. For news. And weather. Before they go to bed. Everyone’s mom does at least.

      • But what I’m asking is, if the watch the affiliate news for the news, why did they suddenly stop watching it when the Jay Leno show came on? They watch whatever local news is on after whatever they were watching at 10? If this is the case, then I say the challenge is to make an 11 pm news people WANT to tune in to, rather than to spend millions creating a 10 pm show so that people will accidentally watch yours.

  24. NBC, if Conan already agreed to come to a party with you, why are you breaking into his house and violently kidnapping him instead of knocking him out once he gets in your car to go to the fake party?

  25. GE dropping NBC is actually a good business move for them. They’ve become too diversified, and NBC hasn’t been very profitable, if at all, for a few years now anyway. Why does GE even own a TV station? On the other hand, Comcast buying NBC would be about as dumb as…well, about as dumb as NBC moving Jay Leno to the 11:30 time slot.

  26. I hope Jay Leno falls down the garbage disposal.

  27. if this means that they move conan back to 12:30 and yank fallon off the air, then i’m all for it. fallon = the worst.

  28. I’m so glad Comcast doesn’t get my money anymore. Goddamn.

  29. Hating Leno aside, WTF does this mean for Conan?
    Way to not mention things that are important Gabe!

    Does this mean CONAN will be the one escaping to another network, rather than Jay?
    And what of Max Weinberg! What of Max Weinberg!

    This has bad idea jeans all over it.

    • It looks like NBC hasn’t decided what to do with Leno or Conan if TMZ is to be believed (and I’m not saying they are). The Leno show may be retooled to be a 30 minute show on from 11:30-12 and then conan would come on after. There is no word on whether conan would also be 30 minutes or just follow in Kimmel’s footsteps and do a 12-1 show. The other option they are considering is just canning Conan and putting Leno back on from 11:30 – 12:30.

      • According to this thing in on the new york times website (i know, i know…) it would go like Leno from 11:30-12, Conan from 12:05-1:05, and then Jimmy Fallon at 1:05, and then who gives a fuck about that mincing butt pirate Carson Daly?

        • In some ways, I do feel bad for Carson Daly. I think he left the green pastures of TRL to set himself up as the late night host for the TRL kids as they got older. However, his show was a callback for which no one asked, and things got worse from there. Now, his show’s sort of like a magazine-entertainment without a studio audience. It’s like his mom used to say though, “Life is what happens while you’re making other plans to parlay your MTV countdown duties into late-night gold.”

  30. NBC should put the Best of Wheel of Fortune in the 11:30 time slot. All the self potato we can handle.

  31. Good news everyone!
    Noted Hollywood insider Steve Agee just tweeted that his “Late Night” friends said it’s just a rumour! (A)Gee I hope he’s right!

  32. I can sympathize with nbc (I can sympathize with a network, yes) being upset at both Jay and Conan’s ratings but isn’t the real problem late-night itself? Like, who watches these shows? I love Conan but I can’t remember the last time I tuned in.

  33. Maybe Conan and Craig Ferguson can join forces on CBS and make the most amazing late night show that’s ever existed.

  34. I’d rather leave tv to Jay Leno and see Conan do his thing elsewhere. Imagine the freedom and support he would have if his primary medium was the internet? Grandpas watch tv; I am on the internet.

  35. Maybe Jay is a decent human being and will address these rumors tonight or tomorrow morning, announcing in effect that no matter what NBC decides, he will not humiliate his successor on a national stage by reclaiming his old job, nor will he cause the rest of us any pain or suffering ever again because he’s going back to his home planet (and his spaceship exploded on the way).

  36. Jay Lengo is a pretty kewl guy, eh has cars an doesn’t afraid of anything

  37. Fuck this noise.

  38. If this shit goes down and they somehow give Conan the boot, I actually hopes he could segue into a similar role that Bill Maher did after getting fired for Politically Incorrect.

    Imagine Conan doing a weekly show on HBO or Showtime where he would have free reign. I have always felt that Conan is more R rating than the PG-13 that he has to be on air.

  39. Don’t know about you people, but I know where I stand

  40. Another one for the ladies…

  41. Stop giving ideas to Albanian sex-traders, Gabe!

  42. it’s good to see videogum taking on some worthy tv causes. i’m here to show my support for The Cone Bone.

  43. Make hay while the sun stay shining, Conan.

    Stop making hay altogether, Jay.

    NBC, stop demanding bricks made out of hay!

  44. Dick Chaney shot someone in the fucking face and the country stuck with him. My point being: America.

  45. Jay Leno must have incriminating photos of the network head at NBC. Or he’s just unbelievably stupid. “Hey, the Jay Leno Show in the prime time slot has been killing our ratings which then kills the ratings of the local networks because of the weak lead-in, then it kills the Tonight Show ratings. Maybe we should move him and piss off everybody else in our lineup to make things better.” It’s like amputating the right leg because the left leg got gangrene.

  46. Jay Leno must have incriminating photos of the network head at NBC. Or he’s just unbelievably stupid. “Hey, the Jay Leno Show in the prime time slot has been killing our ratings which then kills the ratings of the local networks because of the weak lead-in, then it kills the Tonight Show ratings. Maybe we should move him and piss off everybody else in our lineup to make things better.” It’s like amputating the right leg because the left leg got gangrene.

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