BURBANK, CA – Jay Leno will be moving back to 11:30pm, weeknights at NBC. He won the time slot in a bloody cage match with Conan O’Brien.
Poor ratings for Jay Leno’s new Prime Time show at 10pm forced NBC executives to make some drastic choices. Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, and Jimmy Fallon all had contracts with the network, but there were only so many time slots. NBC Executives chose to settle the issue in the typical way, with a cage match.
Conan, Leno and Fallon were all summoned to the NBC Headquarters in Burbank last week. Standing before the executives, each was permitted to plead his case why he should be granted the superior time slot. Then the floor of the NBC executive boardroom opened and the comedians were lowered into the ring. This ring is where Lucille Ball fought Desi Arnaz over the direction of “I Love Lucy,” whether Fonzie should jump the shark tank, and where George Clooney won his bloody right to leave ER.
Though it was only a formality, Jimmy Fallon was included in dispute. A quick first round had Leno knocking out Fallon after 28 seconds. As part of a side bet made before the event Fallon then put on a bikini and announced the rounds for the rest of the dispute. O’Brien soon joined Leno in the cage and they began the main event. Conan, 6’2″ had the strong reach advantage over Leno, 5’6″. Leno is also older and slower than Conan, but he was a strongly experienced veteran of the TV world.
Conan started the match with a strong offensive, landing several jabs and strong kicks to Jay Leno’s head. Mostly he was attempting to maintain distance, but veteran Leno is too used to people aiming for his famously large chin. Leno used the opening provided by one of the kicks to land a brutal punch to Conan O’Brien’s midsection. After 3 rounds the two seemed evenly matched, until Leno was able to grab Conan in a clinch and take him to the ground. Using his stocky build to keep him down Leno pounded on Conan until he cried “Yield.” There are no referees in NBC cage fights.
Now with Leno victorious, he has opted to resume his old time slot of 11:30. There is no word if Conan will accept the offer of a 12:00am slot for his show. Jimmy Fallon will, as usual, be thankful for whatever he can get.