Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC Universal Sports, said the reason for Mr. Leno’s return to NBC’s late-night roster after a short stint in prime time this season was a simple one: disappointing ratings for Conan O’Brien’s “Tonight Show.”
Referring to the pointed jokes made this week by Mr. O’Brien and David Letterman of CBS, Mr. Ebersol said it was “chicken-hearted and gutless to blame a guy you couldn’t beat in the ratings.”
He added that “what this is really all about is an astounding failure by Conan.”
Wow, just wow.
To imply that this entire mess started with Conan’s Tonight Show ratings instead of with The Jay Leno Show’s failure at 10pm (or NBC’s decision to put him there, take your pick), is just complete revisionist history, and the ink’s not even dry on the actual history.
A week ago NBC was “committed to keeping” Conan. Why bother to keep someone who was “an astounding failure”?
Jeff Zucker’s NBC seems to be pursuing a scorched earth policy vs. Conan O’Brien now since it’s clear he’s leaving NBC.
I guess all’s fair in love and war, but the least they could do is try and make a bit of sense.