By Jacquelyn Montaño
In the ‘90s, NBC produced hit comedies like “Friends” and “Seinfeld.” These days, NBC seems to be more interested in drama.
In 2004, NBC promised “Late Night” host Conan O’Brien that he would inherit “The Tonight Show” franchise from Jay Leno in five years. Come 2009, O’Brien took the legendary seat, and Leno went off into retirement.
NBC, not wanting to see its beloved Leno on another network, decided to offer him an hour-long talk show of his own in September 2009. Ratings for “The Jay Leno Show” weren’t up to par, leading to its cancellation notice in January 2010.
So what did NBC do? Offer Leno another show, of course. This time, it would be a half hour shorter, placed after the nightly news, where it would force “The Tonight Show” to midnight for East Coast viewers.
O’Brien refused to push back the show, which left him in talk show limbo for weeks. Eventually, NBC kicked O’Brien to the curb with a deal that will pay him more than $33 million. Leno will take back “The Tonight Show” starting March 1.
Now to me, Leno is in the wrong. He and NBC need to realize the game has passed him by. Leno is simply pulling a “Brett Favre,” choosing to retire, only to take it back. Instead of moving on to a new team, Leno wants his old team back and doesn’t care if he displaces the current quarterback.
O’Brien is the victim here while Leno plays bully, with NBC being his posse. Some might argue that O’Brien could have taken the later time slot and he’d still have a show, but his ratings would undoubtedly have tanked being on so late.
Leno just isn’t funny. O’Brien is. “The Chin” should gracefully walk away like he said he would in 2004. Recent polls show most people back the redhead. Fans even created the slogan “I’m with Coco” to show their support for O’Brien.
Like those who organized rallies in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, showing support for their beloved talk show host, I too, am with Coco.