Thursday, January 14, 2010

It's not looking good for Conan

According to Nikki Finke, it's not looking good for Conan.
NBC Universal, faced with Conan O'Brien's defiance, is taking what insiders tell me is "a super tough threatening position" over his refusal to host The Tonight Show at 12:05 AM instead of 11:35 PM. "Someone's got to show NBCU that big greedy corporate dickheads can't win," one of Conan's manager-agent-lawyer "Team Conan" representatives told me. And while Jeff Zucker has stayed out of sight over this mess he set in in motion in the first place -- by replacing Leno with Conan O'Brien as host of The Tonight Show even though Jay was No. 1 in his time slot at the time -- he's not out of mind. I've already reported how Zucker has been privately blaming Conan for the current debacle, saying "He let me down" because The Tonight Show has been losing out to David Letterman in both eyeballs and advertiser-coveted demographics. (Bullshit, Zucker, you can't keep blaming others for your Zucked-up messes.) Bad enough that NBC made Conan hear about the planned move in the first place from the media. But now the NBCU chief has been talking tough behind the scenes. To counter O'Brien's principled public statement which the late night host issued this week, Zucker "is threatening to ice Conan", according to his reps. "Zucker said, 'I'll keep you off the air for 3 1/2 years.' Which doesn't have a chance in hell of happening. What I really think Zucker wants is to hold him off the market for at least six months to a year until the dust settles and Leno is secure and Conan is squelched." One of the reps even compared Zucker to "Darth Vader" because the NBCU chief "has been so evil" about this.

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