9/27/2004 Add a comment

NBC just announced that Conan O'Brien will take over for Jay Leno on "The Tonight Show" in 2009. Conan has been rumored to want an earlier time slot, and without a move by Leno, it meant Conan would be competition on another network. NBC's move means they will maintain a pretty good hold on late-night television, even when the better stuff is happening over on Letterman or, especially, Comedy Central. O'Brien will undoubtedly have to tone down his show for the 11:30 audience, which should be considered more mainstream than his usual 12:30 audience.

This announcement comes at a time that networks are increasingly worried about the future as cable and other media are eroding television ratings. Looking at the big three network news divisions, Tom Brokaw has already announced his departure after this election (to be replaced by Brian Williams), and Peter Jennings and beleagured Dan Rather aren't getting any younger. In fact, rumor is starting to spread that CBS has been looking for a Rather replacement.

This is an interesting time for television, no doubt. Stay tuned. (Sorry, it was too easy.)


  1. Blogger ben: Conan isn't going to be too happy about this news at all. Waiting for 5 more years to be a headliner? I don't know if he's willing to wait that long. He's voiced frustrations about it in the past. When "his turn" comes he will have already done his show for 16 years! 9/28/2004  
  2. Blogger William: It seems that Conan must be in on the deal, so I don't know how pissed he can be. He's probably quietly seething about having to wait five years, but he will eventually get the prize he wants. Also, Lisa de Moraes has an excellent piece about the announcement with a lot backbiting and behind-the-scenes networkspeak. 9/28/2004