On his show Monday night, Jay Leno set aside his jokes over the late-night mess and waxed serious to explain why he had remained loyal to the network. He recalled that in May 2009, he asked NBC to release him from his contractual obligation not to join another network for at least a year. Instead, he said, the network asked him to take over the 10 00 p.m. time period, predicting that he would "get killed" by the competition during the fall season but could build a following when summer reruns began. He said he agreed to do so in order to keep his staff of about 175 people working. Then, he continued, about two weeks ago, NBC executives informed him, "This show isn't working. We want to let you go," then offered him a new half-hour show at 11 35 p.m. He said he told them, "I'm not crazy about doing a half-hour, but OK. What do you want to do with Conan?" When they told him that they planned to put him on at midnight, he said he asked, "You think Conan will go for that?" According to Leno, he replied, "Yes, yes." But when Conan refused to go along, "They come back to me and they say, 'If he decides to walk and doesn't want to do it, do you want the show back?' I go, 'Yeah, I'll take the show back.' That's pretty much where we are." Meanwhile, in an interview with Charlie Rose on PBS, NBC Universal chief Jeff Zucker maintained, "We made a business decision here, and so we believe we've made the right business decision. ... We think that Jay, who was the ratings champ in late night for almost 15 years, will go back to 11 35 and be successful."

19/01/2010