Jay Leno tries salvaging his image while Team Conan rallies at the 11th hour
Jay Leno tried taking a page from his nemesis David Letterman Monday night, telling his audience directly his side of the events which are leading to his retaking the Tonight Show.
Of course, his audience wasn't just the devoted Leno-heads still willing to sit through a taping of his stultifying 10 p.m. show; Leno was pleading his case to the world in the same way Letterman revealed his sexual liasons with show staffers in the midst of his extortion scandal.
One big difference here: Letterman came clean to his audience before anyone knew; Leno waited until the comedy world had turned him into a pinata. Hard to believe the guy who outmaneuvered everyone now wants the world to believe he's just another working stiff who got punked by NBC.
Team Conan made its passions known at rallies held in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Seattle Monday, drawing cheering crowds despite the rumors that current Tonight Show host Conan O'Brien was in the final stages of negotiating his exit from the network.
There may have been no better image depicting how NBC was mortgaging its future in this move.
These cheering fans were the Twitter-friendly, iPhone-using 18 to 49 year old viewers that NBC will need to keep its fortunes alive in years to come. And NBC just alienated them with the most visible take down of an on air personality since Chevy Chase's six-week excursion as a late night host.
I found myself wondering: Where were all these fans over the seven months O'Brien was trying to prove himself as Tonight Show host?
Let's take a look at the video: