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Jay Leno = Brett Favre

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SarahSpain

Sports reporter, sarcastic smartass, music lover, funny gal.

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Seems everybody--and I mean everybody--is weighing in on NBC's Late Night Debate. Tuesday afternoon Conan O'Brien released an impeccably worded statement announcing that he would not accept NBC's decision to push The Tonight Show after midnight to allow Jay Leno to return to his old time slot. Now all involved parties are in a sort of holding pattern, as rumors swirl that O'Brien might make a move to Fox.

All week, O'Brien has been trying to milk the humor out of a situation that has become a complete and utter embarrassment for NBC execs. In the last few days, guests like Tom Brokaw, Ricky Gervais, Jack McBrayer and Howie Mandel, all of whom currently have shows on NBC, have shown their allegiance to O'Brien (and some major huevos) by openly mocking the network's mishandling of the situation in interviews and sketches.

Hordes of fans are showing their support for O'Brien by creating websites like  "TeamConan.com" and replacing their Facebook photos with an Obama-esque portrait of the red-headed host above the words "I'm With CoCo." I haven't seen much support for Jay Leno, but my guess is that his small contingent of fans have quietly started putting "Team Leno" stickers on the back of their Senior Scooters and pooling their resources to place a "We Support Jay" ad in their local AARP magazines.

It's hard to fault O'Brien--or his supporters--for their outrage. The well-coiffed comedian says in his statement: "I worked long and hard...passed up far more lucrative offers, and since 2004 I have spent literally hundreds of hours thinking of ways to extend the [Tonight Show] franchise long into the future." Leno's decision to retire affected not only Leno, his family, and his staff, but also O'Brien, his family, and his staff--particularly since they were all forced to relocate from New York City to Los Angeles. Leno said he was done, then not only came back, but came back with a show so bad it killed any ratings support for The Tonight Show. And now he wants his old time slot back, no matter who he has to screw over to get it.

The whole situation reminds me of a certain aging QB, formerly from a cheeseheaded team, from a state up north.

For years, Brett Favre did to Aaron Rodgers what Leno is doing to Conan. While Rodgers waited patiently for his chance in the spotlight, working as hard and as long as Favre, the elder QB earned the money, the fame and the accolades. And each time it seemed Rodgers would get his chance to "host" the big show, Favre would decide he wanted to return for another year.  

Finally, in 2008, the Packers decided to stand behind their future, rather than be bullied by the past. For the umpteenth time, Favre was keeping media, fans, teammates and opponents wondering "will he or won't he," and the Packers had had enough. As another off-season of Favre's vacillations threatened to leave Green Bay high and dry heading into camp, they decided it was time to cut ties, once and for all.

At this point, it seems too late for NBC to do the same.

And, unlike Favre, Leno doesn't have the talent to stay in the game. The beyond dismal ratings and even more dismal reviews for The Jay Leno Show don't exactly preclude a successful return to 11:30 for Leno. So while the Packers and the Vikings may have benefited from Green Bay's farewell to Favre, when all is said and done, Fox (now featuring Conan!) may be the only winners in the Late Night Debate.  

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7 Comments

nfn said:

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this would be the same if leno went to fox and got better ratings.

bigwhisker said:

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Enough of Leno and the big chin...
Enough of Conan and the big hair...
We wanna see Spain and her big...

SarahSpain said:

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...words?
...talent?

Gunzaan said:

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Heart... he wanted to finish with "big heart!" :P

Kip Cricket said:

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If you think Leno's innocent, check out the pattern of treachery, laid bare here:

http://www.therestrainingorder.com/?p=2250

First he says he's retiring, then he says he never wanted to leave. Balderdash! Chicanery!

bigwhisker said:

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Big personality....and all those other things guys look for in a beautiful woman! ;)

borg said:

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For those who are too young - or were too uninterested, at the time - to recall, it might help to get some background on this story. Read all about how Leno acquired The Tonight Show gig, back in 1993.

http://bit.ly/6FjAQq (NY Times; 1994)

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