Jan 13, 2010 10:33 AM by Jamie Smith
NBC may be lacking drama in its prime time schedule, but its late night lineup is making up for it. Conan O'Brien provided the latest twist Tuesday, turning thumbs down on the network's planned talk show shuffle.
On Tuesday night the Tonight Show's Conan O'Brien joked "I'm Conan O'Brien and I could soon be available for children's parties," He also said in his Tuesday night's monologue. "Welcome to NBC, where we're not just screwing up prime time!"
O'Brien's zingers came hours after his written statement blasted NBC's intent to shift "The Jay Leno Show" from 10pm to 11:35 and push "The Tonight Show" past midnight.
"The fact that he felt that way was not a surprise The fact that he put the statement out on his own took people by surprise," said TV Guide Editor Craig Tomashoff.
O'Brien said the move would quote: "Seriously damage what I consider to be the greatest franchise in the history of broadcasting". O'Brien's statement expressed disappointment in having only 7 months to build his audience and not receiving support from NBC's prime time schedule.
That ratings-challenged lineup, including "The Jay Leno Show," had damaged affiliate late night newscasts and forced the network's newest late night shuffle.
"They tried it with Letterman and it didn't work. Now, they tried it with Conan and it didn't work. It's just a matter of mathematics. Two doesn't go into one," said New York Times Writer Bill Carter.
So what happens next is up to NBC.
A contract settlement with O'Brien could allow him to go to another network. But the comedian says he currently has no offer.
NBC's offered no comment on O'Brien's statement and Jay Leno did not mention it in his monologue.
However, CBS competitor David Letterman couldn't resist making light of the situation, joking that "al Qaeda's claiming responsibility for the wreckage at NBC".