Conan O’Brien’s last night as host of the 11:35 p.m. Tonight Show will likely be next Friday, Jan. 22.
“Conan does not currently plan on doing any more new shows after next week,” a source close to O’Brien told People.
Another NBC source denies that there is a final date set. But there is a hiatus for the Tonight Show that was set to start on Jan. 25, before the late night debacle began. It would be a convenient exit time for NBC.
Not so much for Conan.
NBC and his legal team still need to negotiate his Tonight Show contract.
If next week is Conan’s last Tonight Show, his crew is making sure he has some top notch guests. Tom Hanks will sit with him on Tuesday night, according to the New York Times.
By the way, Mike Hale, over at the Critic’s Notebook, has a word for you:
The demonizing of Mr. Leno and corresponding beatification of Mr. O’Brien seem to be based on some weird notion of noblesse oblige: that ceding the stage to Mr. O’Brien would be the proper thing to do. This ignores the obvious facts that (1) television is a business and (2) it’s NBC’s money. Mr. Leno, his predictably dismal prime-time ratings aside, is the reigning king of late night; NBC wouldn’t be at this pass if it didn’t think that he could immediately return to 11:35 and outperform Mr. O’Brien.
We’ll see about that.
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