Conan O'Brien Tonight Show
Another late night shuffle
Conan O'Brien Tonight Show
Conan speaks out about the Tonight Show, "I cannot participate in what I honestly believe is its destruction."

It’s an obvious question: what’s the difference between Brett Favre and Jay Leno? There are a multitude of punchlines, none of which I’m good at creating. How about: Favre can still throw a touchdown. I know, doesn’t make sense. Or: Favre still gets ratings. There must be some better ones out there.

Nevertheless, Brett Favre and Jay Leno have a lot in common. Both are aging, superstars, supposedly passed their primes, and hanging on to the past, stubbornly unwilling to let go. Apparently, neither has  watched a movie where the hero fades gracefully into the sunset.

The big difference of course, kidding aside, is that Brett Favre still earns his money. He’s proving this NFL season that he still has what it takes to be the guy, the franchise player. To win. Leno, on the other hand, can’t draw in viewers and the ratings despite the benefit in millions of advertising from NBC. The chin, as family friendly as he is, needs to move on. Most likely, to another network.

I’m very pleased the Internet and Blogosphere support Conan O’Brien’s decision to not accept a ridiculous new time slot of 12:05am for the Tonight Show. Fallon’s fledgingly, youthful show would also get pushed back into the wee morning hours.

Leno is coming across increasingly as a bully, using his power, money and connections to influence decision making to his advantage. The big losers are potentially O’Brien and Fallon, which demonstrates the lack of connection NBC has with key, youthful demographics. It most certainly does not lie with safe, predictable Leno—even though he’s a skilled race car driver and collector, which I like.

In the end there’s probably too much talent on NBC’s roster, much like a star-studded NFL team. Someone will need to leave. I’d like to see Fallon and O’Brien at other networks, if only to get a fresh start without the foreboding shadow of Leno and goofy NBC management.

Contributor to Stark Insider for tech, the arts and All Things West Coast for over 10 years.