Conan O 'Brien is to finish his reported final week hosting The Tonight Show on NBC by having his first guest on the show, Will Ferrell, return alongside Tom Hanks.
For those that don't know, NBC and Jay Leno essentially screwed O Brien, after Leno's primetime talkshow bombed in the ratings. They decided that they wanted to push The Tonight Show's slot back half an hour to 12.05am - in essence making it The Tomorrow Show - so Leno could have a half hour, truncated version of his flop 10.00pm show start at 11.35pm. O Brien wasn't having any of it, and released a statement saying that to move the show to that hour would ultimately end up hurting it, and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon after - a show O Brien hosted for 16 years, that would be bumped to 1.05am. So, the past two weeks have seen late night television have some of its funniest moments in years - none of them from Leno. ABC host Jimmy Kimmel (he of I'm f**king Ben Affleck fame), did an entire show dressed as Leno, and then went on Leno's show and tore him asunder. David Letterman has regularly chimed in, brilliantly and hilariously taking both the network and Leno to task over how they have acted (he was initially supposed to take over The Tonight Show in 1992 when Johnny Carson left, but the suits at NBC gave it to Leno). Fans have united across the web showing their support for Conan, as well as their disdain for Leno and NBC, but alas, to no avail.
It now looks likely that Conan will move to another network, possibly Fox (who are now ran by former NBC boss Kevin O Reilly), once a settlement is agreed with NBC for O Brien and his staff. Throughout the whole ordeal the ginger host has handled himself wonderfully, almost gleefully ripping the piss with whatever airtime he has left. And Leno, well, he'll go back to 11.35pm and The Tonight Show and probably pull in the ratings again, as middle-America inexplicably loves him. But Conan's younger audience will follow him wherever he goes, and Leno has been nearing his best before date for some time now. Add to that the loudly vocalised scorn from the masses online, and I don't think the big-chinned one will walk this one off as he did in 1992 - when he screwed former friend David Letterman in a similar fashion. Conan's last show should air here on CNBC at 11.00pm next Monday. Clips from the legendary Dave Letterman can be seen on CBS.com.