Stay Tuned
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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Was This NBC's Plan All Along?

“TV Week” today pointed to a very interesting article from from December 2008.

In that article, James Hibberd quoted an NBC insider as saying that the network wanted to keep Jay so it would have a fallback plan in case Conan failed.

Was this their plan all along?

Here’s the quote:
“NBC has committed to Conan for ‘The Tonight Show’ and will go through with it.
It’s less of a financial decision, because the $40-45 million penalty payment is
not super relevant. If they went to Jay and said, ‘we need you to split the
payment,’ he’d do it. They’ve made a public commitment to Conan and don’t want
to get beaten up over it. NBC will do everything to try to keep Jay. Morning
shows, afternoon shows, daytime shows – he won’t take any of those. They will
try to keep Jay in the fold so if Conan fails on ‘The Tonight Show’ they will
put Jay right back in there. Jeff Zucker will call Jay into his office with big
wink and say, 'if you say it publicly I’ll deny it, but if Conan fails, I want
you back.' That’s just the way NBC works. Back when Dave and Jay were fighting
over 'The Tonight Show,’ they tried to see if they could do the same thing.
That’s what they’re going to try and do here with Jay and Conan, only they are
more likely to pull it off this time. One of the most important things to
remember about NBC, is they had Coke with Carson. There was no Pepsi. They gave
birth to Dave, then they suddenly had a cola war. They cannot bear the idea of
Conan or Jay going across the street."

You can read the entire story here.