Interviewed by Broadcasting & Cable's Ben Grossman at a session at the NATPE (syndication) conference in Las Vegas, NBC entertainment chairman Jeff Gaspin was asked if he thought NBC would be competing with Conan this fall. “My guess would be yes," Gaspin replied, " but I just don’t know."
Regarding the Olympics (and people will likely have a field day mocking some of these comments, but I'll spare you the snark): “We need a cleansing moment. The two weeks the Olympics are on are going to be a cleansing moment for NBC.”
At the end of the session Grossman asked Gaspin what he'd learned from the last couple of weeks in terms of Leno's exit from primetime and the late night changes.
I probably, you know, I probably underestimated the emotion of everything that went on. I went to Conan, to Jay, to Jimmy with a very logical, rational plan. I explained it to the press. I wasn’t trying to hide anything. And I think the underestimated the emotional impact it had on Conan, in particular.
You also just have to realize that information flows so quickly now. As I speak, people are blogging, twittering what I’m saying. You just have to be more cognizant of that.
The thought that I could have a lot of these conversations privately is something — I knew, and I know, that leaks happen often in our business, but the speed with which they take over is definitely something you have to keep in mind as you make decisions going forward.