The late night hosts gang up on NBC...as they should.
For the most part, Jimmy Fallon is staying out of it.
James Poniewozik wonders if Jay Leno is the smart choice.
It also may be—and NBC has to be thinking of this—that if Conan goes to Fox, he will hurt David Letterman (with the second half-hour of an 11 p.m. Fox show) much more than he will hurt Jay, with whom his audience overlaps less.Here is another essential.
But it is also possible that Conan can in fact—like Jay and Dave at similar stages in their careers—develop a bigger 11:35 audience, or that the audience will change (demographically and in its tastes) to like him better. It's not guaranteed, by any means. But it's enough of a possibility that I'm surprised we don't hear more about at least the possibility of NBC picking Conan instead.
The bottom line is that Jay is certainly the better short-term pick. Long-term, Conan has more upside and more downside. And that may be what does him in. NBC has very likely decided to get out of the risk-taking business.