By Ryan Parsons | Image property of respective holders, Variety
While we knew that Conan O'Brien would be stepping in for Jay Leno come 2009, NBC has announced the exact date. Just before the summer, Mr. O'Brien will be given the reigns as (new) King of Late Night.
Conan O'Brien Steps in June 1st
Since I've always considered Conan O'Brien to be the best of the late night shows, I'm happy to finally have him step into an earlier timeslot. NBC has yet to make any arrangements with Jay Leno, but they are working to keep him close.
"We can't force him to do something," said NBC Entertainment/Universal Media Studios co-chair Marc Graboff. "Our goal is to work with him and come up with an alternative than telling jokes in latenight at 11:30. We believe there's room on a regular basis for him to be on our air."
Jay Leno has been dropping hints around Hollywood that he is not exactly pleased with his departure. Having spent seventeen years behind the desk, he sounds as if he was hoping to at least make it to twenty. Amongst his hints are suggestions that he will move to ABC.
Leno's last episode will air on May 29th with O'Brien taking over on Monday, June 1st.
Though Leno still dominates the late night ratings, NBC and the host agreed to the change in regime four years ago and this came with Leno's blessing.
"We made our decision, and we're happy with it," Graboff said. "We're confident ‘The Tonight Show' will continue to be dominant in its time period."
Leno recently appeared at a press hearing as a faux TV critic and was sure to ask what if the host had a change of heart.
Subtly referencing his own predicament, Leno asked, "Brett Favre retired and then wanted to come back, and the Packers said no. What do you make of that?"
Silverman told Leno that "everyone's entitled to change their mind."
"But," he added, "I would imagine that puts management in an impossible situation."