For once I agree with this zerobot fucktard. Some of y'all make that Dima douchebag sound like a Rhodes scholar. But zerobot's lost the plot with this whole inevitable dissolution of NBC Universal into it's component parts. The Tonight Show's the Tonight Show and it's outlived presidencies, regimes, hairstyles, pubic hairstyles, and it will outlive this clusterfuck. More illustrative than the recent GE Comcast merger is the history of late night with regards to Letterman's secession to CBS. NBC basically tried to do EXACTLY what they're doing this time. They groomed Letterman for the big job, he built an audience (even defined LateNight) - made exactly the transition Conan's made from a frattish younger skewing humour to a statesmen/court jester status. But NBC fucked Letterman and signed Leno in confidentiality long before he got wind (all of this is beautifully acted out in the film Late Shift) for fear of EXACTLY what they fear with Leno now that he would take it to another network. So they gave the top job after Carson's 30 year reign to this relative unknown who was (rightly) seen as a rapidly rising comedic talent. Putzwad Warren Littlefield likely honestly believed that they could keep Letterman at 12:30 as a one two punch with Leno but just didn't get that Letterman wanted the Tonight Show and nothing else. The rest is history. In terms of Neilsen ratings Letterman always historically beat Leno at CBS until July 10, 1995 (and this indicator is somewhat questionable, some point to a new set that brought him closer to the audience) Hugh Grant kept his appearance after the Divine Brown blowie. Since then Leno's dominated the numbers game. Now Conan came out of the gate strong but had a lot of things going for him beyond just the huge promotional push. But Letterman's pretty quickly outpaced him though it would take a flow chart and a fair bit of analysis to get a feel for the Neilsen sweep and tide. Interestingly Bill Carter the New York Times TV critic has been taking Conan's pulse on the transition to 11:30 for a long time. This Q&A from well before the transition is telling. Basically NBC's fucked themselves in a couple of ways. By trying to hold onto two fish wriggling in both hands they've not literally risked losing both but the thrashing about is pretty fucking awkward. Trying to run 3.5 hours of Late Night (or as Conan called it on his first night The Night of The Endless Monologues) was a fools wager and Leno getting heftily outrated against reruns of police procedurals on other networks was not anticipated. It's not this fucking black and white Jay Leno's a douchebag cause he wouldn't step out of the spotlight bit. You can bet the negotiations with Leno and Conan and NBC feel more like a heartbreaking custody arrangement than a cuthroat generational showdown. They fucked the pooch and now they have to go back to the drawing board and besides you don't change a horse midstream and if I knew how to properly use the expression closing the barn door way after the horse is gone I would probably also use it here.