An Open Letter to NBC

Dear NBC,


First, let me express my continuing sympathy on your never having found a replacement for the Seinfeld/Friends lineup of the 90s.  Bummer.  Hope that works out for you.


Moving on, I must say that I am dismayed at the news of your plans for your late night lineup.  We night owls take our late night shows pretty seriously, and I feel that you are showing us little regard by your present course of action.  I have been reading varying reports, but the chief similarity seems to be that you have been disappointed in Jay Leno’s primetime ratings.  As a result of Leno’s lack-luster performance, some are saying you plan on cancelling his show.  Others are saying that you plan on giving him back the Tonight Show.  But, the most trustworthy sources seem to now be indicating that you have issued an ultimatum to current Tonight Show host, Conan O’Brien, saying that he must allow Leno’s show to air at 11:30 (Eastern Time) and move his show to 12-midnight, or otherwise leave the network.


I am among the many who has not been watching Leno since his move to primetime.  I would like to assure you that I will continue to not watch Leno upon his return to primetime.  I would follow Conan to midnight (11, Central) and make it my business to encourage others to avoid Leno and push O’Brien’s show through the roof…but I will not watch Jay Leno.  Conan does not deserve punishment because of the poor performance of Jay Leno, who—let’s face it—has been washed up since…well…I hate to reference the days when Friends was still on again, as I know it’s a sore-spot…but here we are.


As shameful as your treatment of Conan O’Brien has been ever since he was handed control of the Tonight Show, your treatment of his fans is even worse.  I don’t know if you’ve done the math on this…but if you’re worried about ratings, then you probably should remember that your ratings come from PEOPLE.  If you alienate fans, you alienate viewers and your ratings will be…  Hmm…  I can’t think of a nice way to say “Worse than the ratings for Joey.”  Sorry to bring that one up too.  Next thing you know I’ll accidentally mention Cheers and Frasier and then you’ll really be down in the dumps.  Just like your ratings.  (Oops…sorry again.)


Anyway.  My apologies for the ranting and casual jibes.  However, please be advised that these are the words of a FAN and a LOYAL VIEWER.  There are many of us, and we have a way of being heard…and that way, sadly enough for you folks in this case, may just be watching Letterman–or perhaps Conan will end up on a different network and we’ll follow him there.  Either choice seems a better option than watching a Johnny-Carson-Never-Was once again cheat a likeable, entertaining, rising star out of his rightful late night timeslot…or did we learn nothing from watching/reading The Late Shift?


I don’t expect you to listen.  I don’t expect you to care.  But I hope against hope that someone, somewhere will take notice enough of the no-dount countless e-mails, letters, and phone calls of this like that you’re receiving and in hindsight, when the network is up for sale, gently whisper…  “They were right.”


Your friend,



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