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Who is a better fit to host NBC's Tonight Show?

After just more than six months of Conan O'Brien hosting NBC's long-running Tonight Show, the network is reportedly moving the show's former host, Jay Leno, back into the 11:30 p.m. time slot. Leno spent 17 years hosting the Tonight Show before switching the time and format of his show in September.

By Cameron Smith  |  January 7, 2010; 4:22 PM ET  | Category:  National Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Conan Obrien's has got Rahm Emanuels brother over his shoulder, and cannot tell the jokes the people like and tell anyway without him, doesn't he?

Posted by: dottydo | January 7, 2010 5:19 PM

Leno definitely. I no longer watch the Tonight Show when I can watch Leno. And if Leno goes away, I reclaim an hour of my precious time and find a different way to relax.

Posted by: RaymondTAnderson | January 7, 2010 6:29 PM

Leno wasn't funny at 11:30 in the past, he's not funny at 10 now, and he won't be funny at 11:30 again. Terrible what NBC is doing to Conan, who's funnier, more energetic and, apparently, classier than Leno.

Posted by: CDon | January 7, 2010 7:03 PM

Neither of them are funny anymore. Get someone else to host The Tonight Show.

Posted by: dlopata | January 7, 2010 7:07 PM

Is Rosie available?? ;-)

Posted by: unity2 | January 7, 2010 7:15 PM

Conan is funny, his handler (Rahm's relative) and the show's sidekick are not.

Posted by: dottydo | January 7, 2010 7:34 PM

I tried watching Conan but to be honest, he stinks, isn't funny and is classless.

Basically, he's a bum.

Bring Leno back.

Posted by: rcubedkc | January 7, 2010 7:34 PM

I can't even reognize the names of Conan's guests. Too far out for me.

Posted by: kenobill | January 7, 2010 7:42 PM

I never got Conan's appeal. He never learned to simply shut up and let the guests shine. He always trys to outpreform and talk over them and he very, very seldom succeeds.

A guests 5 minute segment might mean 45 seconds of them talking and 4 minutes 15 seconds of Conan trying desperately to be funny.

He's the best sleeping pill there is.

Posted by: joecairo | January 7, 2010 7:51 PM

Conan is mean-spirited and not funny. I cannot stand to watch him and won't, in any venue. He has a very prejudiced and vicious streak in him.

Posted by: mradams | January 7, 2010 8:01 PM

I've watched Conan, but I never thought he was as funny as Jay. His jokes are too silly. Jay seems uncomfortable in his new slot. I agree, bring him back. The whole move was a bad bad idea.

Fallon, on the other hand, is rather entertaining. Where does that leave Conan? Oops!

Posted by: smartgirl312 | January 7, 2010 8:01 PM

Sadly, Leno will get better ratings than Conan in the 11:30 slot, for much the same reasons that people eat at Applebee's.

Posted by: frenchyb | January 7, 2010 8:12 PM

I love Conan, and think he is way better. I stopped watching jay when he went against his promise not to be vulgar long ago. Conan has way more class. Please don't let him get dumped! I love Andy,too.

Posted by: Lala805 | January 7, 2010 8:36 PM

Jay Leno isn't funny to me, he should have retired after 2009. If he didn't want to leave the Tonight show why did he, he signed the contract he should live up to it. Conan is way funnier.

Posted by: demufasa | January 7, 2010 9:11 PM

If this is true and Leno is brought back as the host of The Tonight Show, it is the best New Year I have had in quite some time. Jeff Zucker never should have buckled under the pressure of Conan's agents when they demanded an earlier time slot. And Jay, whose integrity is unquestionable, should never had agreed to step down. He was number one in late night for crying out loud!

My DVR will appreciate the rest. Ever since September I have been recording Jay at 10 and playing him back at 11:35.

A collective cheer will be heard all across this land the night Jay Leno returns. By the way, I am in my 30's and as far as I am concerned, Conan holds no appeal to me.

Posted by: Lesley2010 | January 7, 2010 9:15 PM

I liked Conan and Leno in their previous slots. Who knows why? Comfort? Habit? Tradition? They both just seem to shine in their old slots. At times, both of them seem ill at ease in their current spots.

Why do people so frequently feel they need to move on or up? There is sometimes value in things as they are.

Posted by: weareone | January 7, 2010 9:33 PM

If I were Conan I would walk out with my head held high after confirming (and being paid $50 million dollars) that Americans lives were so empty people like washed up late-night talk show hosts can't even hold their attention for more than 5 minutes before the begin channel surfing. This people, Leno and Obrien, make me sick.

Posted by: bigtruck1 | January 7, 2010 9:35 PM

Leno is a crude mouthpiece for the GOP.

He pulled a fast one on viewers when he had Schwarzenegger on his show, always with a loud fanfare and ginned up screaming and then helped (he set it up) A.S, act like "What a surprise! I've just suddenly decided to shove Grey Davis off a cliff after lying about him for months and run for Governor with the oily Leno's help. Shame on Californians for letting this happen! It was just like a putsch and the strutting, arrogant A.S. and his operatives pulled it off!

I've never had any respect for the California voter's ethics or collective intelligence since and I've detested the corrupt Leno and 'governator' since also.

Ha! Look at Ca. now!! Couldn't be in worse shape.

Posted by: mimosa1 | January 7, 2010 9:55 PM

Originally I followed Leno to the 10:00pm time slot. I never liked Conan - never thought his shtick was funny. He even fails at pretending to be the loser. Leno's show was a tolerable milquetoast to put you to sleep at night.

Leno's new show became a disappointment when I realized that it was just a compressed formula from his previous Late Night show. It got old quickly. And it made me realize that his previous show wasn't that great either. It was predictable. There were some bright spots - Monday night headlines, for example - but most of it was just "reheated leftovers out of the fridge."

Letterman's program on CBS has the same problem. It's in a rut. Except for a few rare moments, it just isn't funny any more. Dave has gotten complacent. He and Paul waste a lot of time on that show talking to each other instead of talking to the audience. It's boring.

A friend recently got me started on the Late Late show with Craig Ferguson. No sidekick, no band, no infuriatingly stupid shtick with the band leader, less "rehearsed" ... I think he's funnier than Letterman, Leno, and O'Brian put together.

I don't have time to watch TV all night, so Craig is the one currently filling up my late night time slot on the family TiVo. If Leno goes back to 11:30 I won't go back. I think he needs to pass the mantle on to somebody else and, if he wants to stay in Television, find a way to get back to his roots in stand-up comedy.

Posted by: dragongild | January 7, 2010 10:31 PM

Conan was awful before he was moved and he's just as awful now. His humor is moronic and I just don't understand what level of person enjoys watching him. He's not funny - he's stupid.

Leno was no Carson but he's way better than Conan is or will ever be.

Posted by: chamonix | January 7, 2010 10:42 PM

Dragongild is right: Craig Ferguson is the funniest host on late night. His over-the-top cutting up is perfect for late-late night and would be watered down in an earlier time slot. Jimmy Kimmel is funny too, and more mainstream, but he doesn't convulse me the way Ferguson does.

Posted by: pundito | January 8, 2010 12:34 AM

Brushing your teeth is easy, getting the toothpaste back inside the tube after you've already squirted it out and made a mess, that is hard. And NBC had the best toothpaste people wanted to buy, with Leno then Conan,and they said we can make this toothpaste even better, that the toothpaste was named NBC's Late Night Magic, its hard to recapture magic. I think even if Conan is not the best right, people need to stand by him. I also think NBC really was the clear leader before this, the big winner though is Comedy Central's satire lineup, and they'll continue with that success now that NBC is yanking the carpet from peoples feet yet again, in less than two years.

Posted by: bflaherty5 | January 8, 2010 1:12 AM

Leno is much better. I was truly surprised when Leno left and Conan took the 11:30 spot.

When I found out Leno had a show at 10, I wondered about the sanity at NBC. Now we KNOW they were confused.

Posted by: postfan1 | January 8, 2010 3:33 AM

Frankly, the whole late night talk show thing is so old. Do something new and try to innovate. Please!

Posted by: robertmerry | January 8, 2010 9:25 AM

We tried Conan. Even at that time of night, a waste of time. He isn't funny and hasn't evolved.

Leno's current show is the worst thing he's done, but he was superior in the Tonight format.

Bring back Jay and Headlines, dump Conan.

Posted by: llrllr | January 8, 2010 9:36 AM

I used to watch them both, but now? Meh. Time for NBC to recognize a paradigm shift, and come up with something fresh.

Posted by: KSVA | January 8, 2010 9:44 AM

You need a third alternative - "Don't watch either at any time and so don't care."

Posted by: pirate1 | January 8, 2010 11:10 AM

I used to find both Jay and Conan mildly amusing in their old time slots. But, now they are both equally boring. Jay's monologues are flat and Conan's sidekick is past annoying. Yes, bring on something new, these two have had their time in the sun(moon?) and need to find better work.

Posted by: monel7191 | January 8, 2010 12:15 PM

Letterman. The Once and Future heir to Johnny Carson.

Leno's show isn't, and never, was particularly smart or funny.

Conan is trying too hard.

Posted by: BethesdaDad | January 8, 2010 12:39 PM

Craig Ferguson is the funniest of the nighttime comics. Move him to Letterman's spot.

Posted by: remorse | January 8, 2010 12:45 PM

Both Leno and Conan have worn out their welcome. Neither was ever as funny and classy as Johnny Carson. Wouldn't it be great if NBC picked an unknown like Carson was when he started?

Posted by: valandsend | January 8, 2010 12:52 PM

I love the ignorance of alot of the comments. To clarify the facts:

1. Jay isn't complaining about his 10pm slot - NBC's affiliates are complaining that the ratings (which are on par with expectations) are hurting their newscasts.
2. Jay was forced out of The Tonight show by short-sighted execs @ NBC trying to placate Conan.
3. Conan was alot funnier @ 12:30 than at 11:30...he's too sanitized now most of the time.
4. Jimmy is just getting his footing, so I'd be really sad to see him go.
5. Regarding "Class", sorry, Conan's tantrum is what caused the shift in timeslots in the first place, so you fail on that one outright.
6. Ummm...yeah. :)

Posted by: shapeshifter77 | January 8, 2010 1:13 PM

Conan: Not Funny

Leno: Please Retire

Letterman: RULES !

Posted by: jbcowan | January 8, 2010 1:16 PM

I DON'T LIKE JAY LENO

CONAN LOOKS FUNNY BUT NOT FUNNY

LETTERMAN IS MY MAN!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: danders5000 | January 8, 2010 1:55 PM

This will sound harsh. Jay is funny in the same way that Johnny Carson was funny i.e.: he is not funny.

Conan O'Brien is like a humor litmus test. If you don't find him extremely clever and funny then you are a) an old curmudgeon, or b) a person that likes predictable humor designed to make you feel comfortable, rather than actually making you smile and, ideally, chortle, giggle, shoot liquids out your nose etc.

Nothing personal people. I like Jay, Johnny and all. I'm just sayin'...in my humble opinion, Conan is a very funny and talented human being.

Posted by: firethief | January 8, 2010 3:07 PM

lets go with something new...
how about kaley cuoco as the host...
or another cute blonde that wants answers from the guests and can get them just by being pretty and cute...
hows that for outside the box...

Posted by: DwightCollins | January 8, 2010 3:23 PM

Leno is for people who would rather spend a long weekend in Branson, MO instead of Vegas. Those people are likely to be watching formulaic boring talk shows at 11:00-11:30 rather than smart satire of the Daily Show/Colbert Report. Sure those shows are crude a fair amount of the time, but it is still head and tails above headlines or stupid pet tricks.

Conan was a perfect way to wind down the night with odd ball humor and inherent silliness (at 12:30). The 11:30 slot toned Conan down and he quickly became boring and stale just like Leno or Letterman. Give him his old slot back and let him shine.

Posted by: theobserver4 | January 8, 2010 3:43 PM

Uh, sorry...are these guys still on TV?

Posted by: overed | January 8, 2010 4:32 PM

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