Conan O’Brien shafted by NBC and Jay Leno

By Dominick Delgadillo
The Guardsman

When I first heard about Team Coco, I thought, “Hell yeah. Ooh, and let’s get some whipped cream and marshmallows.”

Team Coco is a group of Conan O’Brien fans who supported his fight against NBC’s request to change “The Tonight Show’s” start time from 11:35 p.m. to 12:05 a.m.

“The Tonight Show” has had the same time slot for 47 years. Johnny Carson had that time slot and Jay Leno after him, but O’Brien takes over the show and now NBC wants to cut it by thirty minutes and make it “The Early Tomorrow Morning Show.” The time change may not seem like a sucker punch, but at the very least, it spits in the face of tradition.

O’Brien became host of “The Tonight Show” after Leno, who was supposed to retire, left to host “The Jay Leno Show,” which aired in prime-time.

O’Brien’s show had low ratings, but that is NBC’s fault. “The Jay Leno Show” also had low ratings and was a weak lead-in for the nightly news, which precedes “The Tonight Show.” Lack of proper buzz was also a major factor in O’Brien’s low ratings.

Traditionally, hosts are given one year to build their fan base and raise their inevitably low initial ratings. Jimmy Fallon, Craig Ferguson and even Leno all had low ratings initially.

They all then went on to become staples of late night TV. O’Brien was only given seven months on “The Tonight Show” before NBC decided to bump him.

Leno added insult to injury by opting to take over the show when O’Brien decided to fight the change and quit. Leno, when he first announced his retirement, supported the choice of O’Brien as his successor.

Additionally, upon Leno’s return, NBC decided to keep the 11:35 p.m. start time for The Tonight Show.

Rather than further supporting this man who was clearly wronged, Leno sent O’Brien up river when he chose to take up his former mantle on “The Tonight Show.”

After a month or so of O’Brien fighting for the right to host, and for his own dignity, he gave his final address as host of “The Tonight Show” stating he was upset, but not bitter.

The bitterness truly resides in his fans. When Leno takes over, people should boycott the show. Change the channel when “The Tonight Show” starts. Send letters to NBC and Leno letting them know this is wrong.

Leno needs to retire from television, as he said he would, and take up his true mantle as a dashboard bobble-head that lispingly snickers every so often.

Go Team Coco, and let’s all hope that O’Brien gets a deservedly great place in entertainment.

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