Conan O’Brien “devastated, crying” & is Leno back at ‘Tonight’?


The rumor mill is still churning in overtime at the end of an already horrible week for NBC. First up, the rumor for the past day or so is that Conan O’Brien’s last day on the Tonight Show (and on NBC in general) would be January 22. Many sources reported that after not being able to come to any kind of deal, that Conan was pretty much going to leave without a “see you later.” Fox News Pop Tarts reported that was “absolutely devastated” when telling his staff that he was leaving, probably because many of his staffers were from New York, and had uprooted themselves, their families and their lives to move to LA to work on the Tonight Show. A source said: “Conan gave a speech to all of his staff and he broke down crying.” Yet another source said that “Conan and Jay are both embarrassed and hurt…. Conan is making a smart stand. NBC is dealing with a very messy mistake. Somebody is going to go; somebody’s feelings will get hurt.”

However, the official word from NBC and Conan is that he will not be stepping down, at least not on January 22. Conan’s rep tells Us Weekly: “Not true… He has a scheduled hiatus the week of January 25.” And yet! In yet another breaking news report, TMZ claims that NBC has signed Leno to come back to the Tonight Show, for it’s original hour-long program. This, of course, has been denied by NBC. My guess: Conan’s contract it still valid, and if NBC tries to sign Leno to the Tonight Show with formally dealing with Conan’s contract, Conan could sue NBC for lots and lots of money.

Meanwhile, remember the ballsy open letter Conan sent out, refusing to take the 12:05 slot? Well, insider Hollywood sources are now claiming NBC chief Jeff Zucker threatened Conan, saying something along the lines of: “’I’ll keep you off the air for 3 1/2 years if you don’t take this deal.” Which is kind of funny when you think about it, because Zucker is A) a moron and B) not really as powerful as he would like to think.

As the media war rages on and on, it’s Conan (and to a lesser extent, Jimmy Fallon) who come out ahead in the PR war. Leno has never been beloved, but I’m kind of surprised that so many people are so flatly pro-Conan. The “I’m With Coco” movement has begun in earnest, and the general consensus is that Leno should sack up (for lack of a better phrase) and just bow out with grace, leaving the late-night programming to Conan and Fallon. Even Rosie O’Donnell thinks so – she says that Leno has “bullied” his way back into “college” so he can relive his glory days. Or something.

The “I’m With Coco” image courtesy of Collider, image created by Mike Mitchell.

Conan O'Brien Appears on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno

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60 Responses to “Conan O’Brien “devastated, crying” & is Leno back at ‘Tonight’?”

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  1. anonymus says:

    Go Conando!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Coco all the way.

  2. GatsbyGal says:

    Jay shouldn’t get Tonight back…it was his time to go, and he gave it to Conan. Conan just needs some time. Jay hosted that show a looooong time and people are just used to the way he did it. They’ll come around to ol’ Coco. I can’t believe they’re doing this to him, basically ruining him. He doesn’t have another show to go back to, it’s Jimmy’s now.

    Poor, poor Conan…and poor everyone who moved to remain on his staff.

  3. Gigohead says:

    It’s so pathetic of Jay to continue on any talk show when in fact, his variety show cost stations half a million dollars a week in losses in advertising per a report I read yesterday. Its poor ratings caused viewers to tune out and not switch back to the channel for local news. The stations were losing revenue.

  4. Roma says:

    So Team Coco. NBC is an absolute disaster.

  5. meow says:

    I think having Leno on at 11 with guests that should have been booking for the Tonight Show effected Conan’s ratings. He never had a chance. NBC has screwed up on this one. I think Zucker will be out soon, if this does not end well. I have never liked Jay Leno and Conan is okay, but I love George Lopez!

  6. GatsbyGal says:

    Eww, George Lopez…

  7. joe says:

    we don’t want Jay Leno, we want CoCo

  8. Maritza says:

    I like Jay Leno better than Conan, I think Jimmy Fallon is not funny at all, but my favorite is George Lopez!

  9. bite me says:

    Team Coco, hung a ginger

  10. Kevin says:

    Jay should bend over and let Conan ram him! It will be the 1st funny bone he has ever had in his body! Excerpt from Hitler Jay Leno on you tube. Too funny! Wish I could link it to you guys, but alas my computer skills are lacking.

  11. mollyb says:

    I think Conan himself summed up why people are so angry/disgusted with Leno. He said something in his monologue along the lines that the Tonight Show was his lifelong dream and that it goes to show all the kids out there that you can do anything you dream of–unless Jay Leno wants to do it, too.

  12. QB says:

    I hate Jay and how he is pretending this is all NBC fault and he is being put on that position , I just want to scream at him don’t be a hypocrite , you are at fault you sucked and you wanted your old job back and you don’t give a flying F#ck for any one but yourself.

  13. Rachel says:

    Not everyone is team “Coco”. I think he is horribly un-funny.

  14. GatsbyGal says:

    You’re horribly unfunny.

  15. LolaBella says:

    Team Coco All The Way.

    If Jay was a decent person he would have bowed out gracefully when he realized that Conan was going to get shafted just because he (Jay) changed his mind about retiring.

    At this point I wish that Conan could just take his show go to Fox, compete directly against Jay and stick it to him and NBC in the ratings.

    Oh and to you Jeff Zuckerman, you have completely ZUCKED up NBC, but your new Comcast bosses will remedy that pretty soon. Your days at NBC are clearly numbered.

  16. lucy2 says:

    I think he’s hilarious, but even if you don’t care for him, it’s painfully obvious that he got the short end of the stick here. I really feel bad for him having to tell his staff they were done, especially when so many uprooted their families, their whole lives, to come to LA with him. Not to mention that for 5 years he was planning on living his dream, and now it’s taken away from him because someone else’s show failed at 10 pm.
    Imagine if the company you work for, someone in a different department failed at their job, but rather than fire them, they try to demote you to give them your job. It would suck, wouldn’t it?
    The vast majority of the blame is on NBC, but Leno isn’t helping himself any, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s some continuing backlash when he takes the TS back over.

  17. tfb says:

    Team Conan.Conan does have a following, plus I have loved his cameos on other shows like 30 Rock where he dated Tina Fey. He will be seen/heard from again, even if Leno wants to stick his chin back into the 11:30 slot.

    Also, team network tv sucks. Between this epic fail by nbc and cbs paying Charlie Sheen’s abusive ass the highest salary for a tv actor I have lost faith in the major networks. I’m investing in more hbo and showtime channels as we speak.

  18. Firestarter says:

    I thought it was all a done deal and Jay had the 11:35 time slot back?

    It doesn’t matter to me, I haven’t watched any of those late night shows in years.

    Poor Conan! (I refuse to call him Coco!)

  19. SammyHammy says:

    This may be the first time I have every agreed with Rosie O’Donnell about anything.

  20. MarlaAnn says:

    Team CoCo!!

  21. Iggles says:

    Leno should step down! He said he was going to retire. He’s such a snake. He’s not a victim in all this.

    So his show tanked — shows that tank get cancelled. In the real world few of us can go back to our old job if our new one doesn’t work out.

    Jay’s true colors are showing. He’s trying to blame NBC, but we can see that he’s no Johnny Carson. Carson knew when to say when.

  22. Lantana says:

    They’ve started showing Conan instead of Fallon at 3 am here in Missouri, so I’ve been watching Conan, and I’m actually growing fond of him. So, yeah, team Coco for me too.

  23. Linda says:

    Conan – people get fired all the time for non-performance! You sucked, your ratings sucked and you ass is canned because of it. Shut the F-up and just go away already!

  24. Goddess711 says:

    It was a smart move – some “other station” will pick him up and move him to the same time slot. Leno may not be able to recoup where he was and sink, Conan will be swimming on another channel.

  25. Jazz says:

    LOL @Kevin!

    Team Conan!!

  26. Ally says:

    I think it was a mistake to move Conan to LA anyway. His show always had a New York vibe with the smart college humor. The LA atmosphere kind of sucked that out of his Tonight Show. And it’s not like the MidWest relates more to LA than NY or something. Weird decision, unless it’s easier to get celebrities to the show in LA.

    Also what’s with Zucker’s idiot decision to kill off the 10pm dramas, anyway? Are people going to be buying DVDs of Jay Leno’s variety show? I think not. This kills off a major viewer draw and later ongoing revenue. What a maroon.

  27. Raven says:

    Team whoever Jeff Zucker is not on–he’s the one who deserves to be fired. Frankly, getting rid of him would allow the other contract negotiations to proceed much more smoothly.

  28. Sumodo says:

    You know that bit Conan does with Andy and La Bamba? “In the Year 3000, in the Year 3000: In the Year 3000 Jeff Zucker will still be an asshole.”

  29. Anonymous says:

    Conan’s ratings sucked. Maybe if everyone who is jumping on the Team Coco bandwagon had watched his show, this wouldn’t be happening.

  30. LolaBella says:

    @Anonymous: Some of us have been ‘on the Conan Bandwagon’ from the early days when Late Night With Conan O’Brien first debuted! Then his show was literally about getting people to watch it via word of mouth.

    The problem now is that since Jay’s 10p.m. show SUCKED, there was no ratings lead in to the 11p.m. news or to the Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien.

    Honestly, Conan also lost a lot of his Late Night fans because his old Late Night shtick was watered down or phased out because it didn’t ‘suit’ his new Tonight Show demographic.

    A lot of his fans are still watching him, but there are too many people who changed the channel at 10p.m. and never switched back to NBC to watch him.

    Team Conan.

  31. snapdragon says:


  32. lucy2 says:

    Ditto at Team Whatever-Zucker-Is-Not-On. That guy has run a once great network into the ground, and now just wrecked one of the few areas they still did well in.

  33. LizzieB says:

    This really is an embarrassment to the NBC network. I USED to like Leno’s show better, but what is happening is just WRONG on so many levels. You step down, you pass the torch, you should retire! People didn’t give Conan enough time. Leno’s ratings sucked in the early days too. Whatever, I will NOT be watching The Tonight Show if they put Jay back on – it’s my own personal protest. I’ll be watching Dave from now on.

  34. Kathie says:

    I wonder at this point if there hasn’t been too much damage one way and another to the franchise. I personally think Conan would be better off to stalk off into the sunset with his pride intact and land himself into direct competition with Leno/Zucker and beat s**t out of them ratings wise. If NBC wont let him host a talk show it couldn’t stop him from being a nightly guest on one could they? Let’s say for example if one of the networks started a new night talk show with someone no one has ever heard of with Conan as his nightly guest? Oh well, whatever happens at the heart of it is the “all sales are final” theory..Leno walked away, he needs to stay away but Conan is better off leaving.

  35. stinabelle says:

    I love Conan, but I honestly can’t stay awake late enough to watch the Tonight Show. My parents are Leno fans, but I never found him very funny.

    I think NBC should be more worried about getting awful shows like Heroes off the air.

  36. Steve says:

    I find it funny that so many people are now coming out saying what huge Conan fans they are, so where were these people for the last 7 months because his ratings don’t indicate this support at all! You Conan fans think this is Jay’s fault which is just dumb and short-sighted. The fact is, NBC is a business with the sole purpose to make money and if Conan had been bringing in the ratings, this would NOT be happening to him. The only reason Conan is suddenly getting all this support is because he’s positioned himself as the underdog, and America loves the underdog!

    p.s. Not a Jay or Conan fan – just a realist.

  37. Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

    How does someone as incompetent as Jeff Zucker get the kind of position he has? He’s either related to someone, knows some secrets, or willingly compromises himself in ways not known to those of us living outside of the Hollywood Hills. It doesn’t really matter now, seeing as how his dismissal is a foregone conclusion–right? I mean, the new bosses aren’t going to suffer this albatross, are they? Really, you would think that if he was going to make threats like those, the tools required to make good on any of them would be in his arsenal. No. What a catastrophically dumb and hateful person.

  38. Jules says:

    Anyone one who thinks Conan is gonna go to another network and kill Leno/Letterman/Kimmel in the ratings is DELUSIONAL. He couldn’t beat them on NBC and he ain’t gonna come even close at FOX. Look it up, FOX has tried late night shows (with bigger talent than Conan) and they never last.

  39. Tom says:

    Unless Letterman, Kimmel, Ferguson or Fallon retire…Conan’s career is pretty much over.

  40. shemsu says:

    I could understand if Conan, Leno or Fallon were actually that funny. None of them are a match for Stewart or Colbert. Now THAT’s the must see late-night line-up. The only one of the three I would feel some sympathy for is Fallon. Conan should have made sure the ‘cannot move from 11:35 slot’ clause remained in his contract. He didn’t… he’s being extremly well compensated for his ‘predicament’.

  41. lucy2 says:

    He has been and will be well compensated for sure. But I feel bad for all the other people who work on the show who are going to be out of a job, which is why I would love to see him go to Fox or another network, and bring them with him.
    I wouldn’t expect him to beat Letterman in ratings, and I think he’d beat Leno at first and then probably eventually settle into a 3rd place finish. I think he’d do well for Fox, who has never had success, plus the show would be his own, not trying to fill the shows of any past hosts, or trying to conform his own style into someone else’s.
    If Zucker really threatened to keep him off the air for years, he’s not just hurting Conan’s pride, but all the other people involved here as well, and sorry Zucker, but that’s just cruel.

    @shemsu – I totally agree that of all of them, Stewart/Colbert is the best by far. Brilliance.

  42. SageAdvice says:

    Jay Leno retired and then changed his mind.

    There is no debate to this. Conan is getting pushed out of a job because Jay Leno wants it back.

    It’s wrong. Jay Leno should bow out and just remind himself that he decided that he didn’t want to do the show anymore. And now he’s not giving Conan the chance to let the show gain some fans and ratings.

    All of the late night shows had dismal ratings when they started. ALL of them. And then they gained a following because the shows were good. Conan’s Late Night wasn’t popular for literal years (3 or 4, I believe).

    But anyone who doesn’t think Jay Leno is being an ass has their own ass on backwards.

  43. emma says:

    I’m Team Coco all the way.

    For all you people saying that Conan should be fired because he didn’t perform, couldn’t you use that same logic with Leno? Leno’s show bombed as well, but he should get the Tonight Show back? Where’s the logic in that? Also, note that the Tonight Show beat Letterman by the highest margins under Conan not Leno.

    Wasn’t the whole Conan taking over Leno deal done so that the transition would be smooth and not some big drama like when NBC choose Leno over Letterman whilst Carson wanted Letterman (and then Johnny was sending over jokes to David so that he’ll beat Jay)? Well that backfired, didn’t it? Can’t a Tonight Show transition ever go smoothly?

    So what happens if Leno gets his show back and decides later down the road that he does want to retire? Who would want to take the reigns? Wouldn’t they just be afraid that Jay is gonna take back the show at some point? Why is NBC always choosing Jay over anyone else? Does he have something on them?

    I’ve never seen Leno’s new show, but I catch the Tonight Show when he was host. It was okay, but the only thing that I liked was Jaywalking. But I’ve been watching Conan since high school. Conan, Jon Stewart, and Stephen Colbert are the only shows I watch thanks to DVR – and I loved it when all three hosts came together during the strike, that was awesome!

  44. Judy says:

    Have never been able to stand Conan; have never thought he was remotely funny; and support Leno back on The Tonight Show. His new time slot and format killed him.

  45. Carrie says:

    I still remember the exact moment I fell for Coco, back on the old late night show.
    He’s the best, and he’s been screwed by Zucker and NBC!!

    Team Coco!!

  46. Feebee says:

    I think we all knew not having quality dramas on at 10 would suck (except that between CBS/ABC and Cable there’s plenty) and that Leno’s show was going to suck harder. I suspected Letterman may make some ground on the Tonight Show because some people don’t like change and changing to Letterman who’s humour they may handle better was easier than getting to know Conan.

    What I didn’t think would happen was see Conan get totally f**ked over by NBC in this terrible way. Or that Jay Leno would turn out to be as big an a-hole as Zucker. Thought Leno was minorly amusing but a nice enough guy. He’s clearly neither.

  47. hatsumomo says:

    @ kevin, hee hee

  48. juiceinla says:

    First: Team Conan. Second: I think this little dance regarding whether Jay signed or not, is so that NBC can further screw Conan by getting him to quit, and breach their contract, so they wont have to pay him off. STAY STRONG CONAN!!! make those fokkers pay you.

    More interesting to me is that everyone in the comedy community is now taking potshots directly at Leno’s chin. Jimmy Kimmel’s interview made it clear to me, Jay may have strong-chinned his way back to his old gig, but his “brethren” are not going to forget this. He has ostracized himself in his own community.

    LENO SUCKS! A long time ago had a moderately successful comedian in my family, and when the Dave-Jay shixx went down, the family comedian told us all kinds of stories about what a total scummy Deucebag Leno really is. He’d backstab his mother for a chin-cozy, I tell ya.

  49. Stephie says:

    They should re-air Johnny Carson reruns and be done with all of it. No one trumps the master.

  50. S.V. says:

    Now everyone knows that Jay is not the good guy that he pretends to be, he’s just a freakin’ uncaring robot. It’s time Jay retires and gives Conan a chance. Conan never had a chance with a horrible lead that he had. TEAM COCO!!!

  51. ab says:

    I hope all the bad press tanks Jay Leno (as if he couldn’t do it himself, good grief). This is so terrible. Jay had 6 freakin years to make up his tiny mind, but no, he waits until everyone uproots and moves across the country. That is selfishness beyond belief! Team CoCo. Love him.

  52. CC says:

    I felt bad for Jay being forced into early retirement by Conan’s push to host the Tonight show. I liked Jay and found him funnier than Letterman. I don’t care for his politics, but in all other aspects, I’ve heard he is a nice man who’s faithful to his wife, unlike odd ball ugly perv adulteror, Letterman. .
    With that said, A deal is a deal Jay. If he didn’t want to leave, than he should never had agreed to the 2009 exit. You should have let Conan go to another network back then. But to now go back on that deal and steal Conan’s thunder by insisting on having a show at an odd hour before Conan’s isnt’ right, expecially after Conan and all his staff have moved to L.A. At least give Conan a year or two to see if it works. NBC hasn’t given Conan the full support he needed to host the Tonight show.
    Jay should have bowed out gracefully and tried to move onto another network himself. Jay’s had his run for 17 years. NBC and Leno should have stuck to the deal they promised. Big mistake NBC, and now it’s blowing up in their face.

  53. dan says:

    linda #23. i guess they then should really be getting rid of leno because he sucked big time in the 10:00 time slot. thats what all the fuss is about because he couldnt cut it. talk about non performance!!!

  54. Jax says:

    I despise Jay Leno, always have. I tuned in to his show one time because I love Sean Connery and he was on Leno that night. Leno always always tries to put his guests down, make them look small next to him and I’ve never understood why people like him. He pulled that crap with Sir Sean and Mr. Connery just stared at him until Leno started to squirm. No way James Bond was going to fall for Leno’s asinine crap. I loved it. Never watched Leno again though. Can’t stand the man. I hope his ratings fall through the floor and keep going taking him to hell with them.

  55. justme says:

    Conan is a joke. And not in a funny way. He’s easily the most unfunny person I’ve ever seen. Give his show to ANYONE and it would be an improvement.

  56. Colleen says:

    I don’t think you can compare Conans disaster at hosting the TS with the disaster that was Lenos 10pm show, because Lenos show was something new, not seen before at that time slot for 5 nites a week, the TS was already an established show.
    Conan ran the TS into the ground, I think we all knew despite Leno being good, his “variety” show at 10pm was not going to work up against all the 10pm popular dramas on other networks.
    Sorry, have to support Leno on this one, as it became clear a couple years ago he did not really want to retire, but Conan and his team forced the issue for him to go as planned.
    If Conan was not caring enough to understand what Leno was losing then, he sure can now can’t he????

  57. skibunny says:

    It’s ridiculous to me that these guys are paid the amount of money they are. Neither one of them are that funny or worth that much! What job skill does it take to ask egotistical movie stars about their boring lives anyway? I couldn’t be bothered watching this crap!

  58. corine says:

    Team Conan! For me, Conan is way funnier and more edgy, while Leno is McDonald’s humor with a chin. And, I think Leno is greedy for wanting his show back–time to let the other guy have a shot, you spotlight hog.

  59. Amy says:

    Team Conan. I like Jay Leno and I liked him as the Tonight Show host and I liked The Jay Leno Show, mostly because it was on earlier. I really could care less about NBC’s affiliates and the fact they are losing money… whatever. I get my news mostly online.

    However the way NBC is treating Conan is disgusting. Esp. because Conan and his family and most of his staff moved all the way to LA for the show. Leno wasn’t embraced by the ratings right away when he took over the Tonight Show, it took a few years before that happened so I don’t understand why NBC isn’t giving Conan a fair chance.

    Jay Leno has had his chance in the spotlight, he is rich enough that he can retire and tend to his cars or whatever.

  60. Cone says:

    Still team Coco in 2012! Wooo!