Debate: Should Jay Leno Return as the Host of The Tonight Show?

By Jake and Glenn 

Jay Leno's prime time show may have been a huge failure, but his run on The Tonight Show was very successful. There were a million people watching for every Judge Ito that graced the stage with a choreographed dance routine. Conan O'Brien has not been unsuccessful during his run on The Tonight Show. While critics don't necessarily have kind words for Conan, he's still getting similar ratings to Leno's version of The Tonight Show. NBC has announced that they are removing Leno from the prime time slot, but want to keep him on the air. Conan has said that he will not go on after Leno. It basically comes down to either letting Conan keep hosting The Tonight Show or replacing him with Leno. What decision will NBC make? Who is going to win this controversial debate? Find out at the end!

Jake (Pro-Conan): Jay Leno is an old man. He probably doesn't even know what Twitter is, and Conan's show revolves around it. If Conan has a problem it's that he's too hip. He's like a beat poet.

When Conan first took over The Tonight Show I was really excited and watched the entire first week of shows. There were some funny moments, but overall Conan didn't seem comfortable. Andy Richter, who returned to the show as the announcer, seemed out of place and he still does, just a little less so. What I'm saying is that Conan needs some more time to get comfortable living in LA and being on earlier. My would guess that NBC has a very hands-on approach to The Tonight Show. I can't imagine that it's the show Conan and Andy want to be putting on.

If Leno gets The Tonight Show back I'm going to drown my sorrows by drowning myself!

Glenn (Pro-Leno): Jake, don't despair. Conan will be replaced by Jay and all will once again become right in the world. Those of us who are too busy embarrassing ourselves at bars while we hit on members of the opposite/same sex have noticed that uneasy feeling ever since Jay moved to 9pm and Conan to 10:30. It's a sinking feeling that we thought was gout but turned out to be the wrong host of the Tonight Show. Conan just hasn't worked out. Like Jake, I was excited for Conan to take over but unlike Jake I never even bothered to watch the entire first week. I'm basing my opinion on seeing very little of Conan's show and even less of Jay's but that's what this country is about - doing what feels right not what will make NBC the most money. Fortunately moving Leno back will do both!

Jake: Jay isn't going to make NBC any more money than Conan would. Conan and Leno get pretty comparable ratings at that 10:30 timeslot. Leno doesn't appeal to the younger demographic, which is what nearly every TV show is targeting. I'm sure the dust will settle on this soon (hopefully not before this gets posted) and we'll know if O'Brien is in or out. I think NBC would be making a huge mistake restoring Leno to The Tonight Show. Not just because Leno isn't as funny as Schindler's List, but because Conan can give them more years than Jay could. Jay Leno is an old man and he's going to die soon. If you want to watch a dead man interview Tom Hanks, then that's your prerogative. I like my talk show hosts like I like my children: alive.

Glenn: I'm not sure what you were admitting with your last statement, but it made me and roughly a third of our readers uncomfortable. Conan, however, makes many more late night viewers uncomfortable. That's why NBC is going to replace him with a proven ratings getter. Leno's viewership does skew old, but old people are the engines of this economy. The oldest person in the world, Alan Greenspan, literally controlled our economy for several years in the 90s and 00s. He loves Jay Leno. Another big Leno fan? The Pope! Not the current one who was forced to join Young Nazis for Freedom, but the other one who helped liberate Poland. Conan's biggest fan is a young person, as Jake stated. It's Paris Hilton. Virginia Tech killer Seung-Hui Cho also ranted and raved in his tapes about how edgy Conan's humor was. Perhaps too edgy - it set him off. NBC would rather have the former as viewers than the latter.

Jake:: Old people just don't matter. They're going to be in heaven soon having tea with Elvis and Mussolini. The future is our nation's young. They're literally going to be in charge of this country some day. Why shouldn't TV programs tailor to these people? If I was a TV Executive, I wouldn't want to hire an old person. I'd exclusively hire young people. I would have an 12 year old hosting the tonight show and his band leader would be a cartoon shark. That show would get some big ratings! Leno doesn't get big ratings, on the other hand. He usually draws around a 1 share, which is what Conan also gets. The problem with prime time Leno is that he was getting the same ratings. That is why his show got canceled. He should spend his days waxing his fleet of classic cars and interviewing Mavis. Jay Leno should never be on TV again.

Glenn: I don't know what "share" means but I guess that's why I don't run NBC. No one does. It's a non hierarchical organization where decisions are made collectively. Everyone has input. So ultimately who plays at 10:30 lies with all the citizens of NBC. Personally though I just feel like Conan's been given his watch. You only get one chance in life and this was his. He blew it. He had fucking Gallagher as a guest - and he didn't even let him smash watermelons! Granted Jay would have Gallagher as a guest too, but then he'd make him answer some questions everyone should know. That's akin to Jaywalking - the famous bit. Conan doesn't have any famous bits at 10:30 besides ruining my life and that's not a bit. It's just sad fact. Please bring Jay back to 10:30, NBC. IT's where he belongs.


  1. i'll never understand why glenn is so pro-leno. maybe it's because he looks like conan, so he sees himself as him. glenn, do you h8 yourself?

  2. Thx 4 tha db8. Jake wouldve been more believable as a Leno supporter. This was like Glenn trying to defend Gary's stance on healthcare reform/Illinois corruption. No matter how astute the argument his heart just couldn't be in it. Leno wont get back on TV. They assassinated Yitzak Rabin for less and he was MUCH more of an entertainer.

  3. I can't stand Leno. He jumped the shark when OJ was acquitted.

  4. Well of course. No one can stand Leno. It's just that you're the Robert Shapiro to our (society's) Marcia Clark.

  5. As my Facebook profile pic now states, "I Stand With Coco." Conan is so much better now than he was just 7 months ago, and his banter with Andy Richter is getting very tight. I just blame the move and the changes for the uneasiness in the beginning. #teamconan

    As for the generational argument. Conan is the comedian for our generation. It is his time like it is our time. When he becomes old and gray like Leno, I will call for his euthanasia.

  6. PS You should probably specify the times you are talking about, Glenn, are CST and not EST. Your Midwest is showing...

  7. Nate, why would anybody give a fuck? I think people know what time TV shows start in their area. You think people are reading this and are saying "This is an inaccurate article, Leno is on at 10 not 9!"? I doubt people are even reading it in the first place!

  8. You are wrong. Everyone is reading this. This is how we at NBC will decide who to keep on at this time slot. We were going to pick gallagher for this, however you both seemed to not like them. we are broke and all our focus group money went to drugs for our ceo and their mistresses, which is were it should be going i might add. We thought of having Arby's as a sponcer but no one but Mikey wants to see Gallagher smash Arby's roast beef and cheddar sandwich with a mallet.

  9. Bub's comment "They assassinated Yitzak Rabin for less and he was MUCH more of an entertainer." makes me laugh every time I read it, which has been exactly 516569 times since originally written - the same number of illegal settlers currently in the West Bank.