Will Jerry Seinfeld replace Conan O’Brien on Tonight Show?

By | December 17, 2009 at 6:25 pm | 58 comments | News, TV/Movies | Tags: , , ,

Jerry SeinfeldConan O'Brien












The good people of PunchlineMagazine.com do not traffic in rumors. That said, we are not above relaying trumors: speculation that sure sounds real.

So we will pass along this scuttlebutt from PopEater: An NBC spokesperson denies it, but TV sources say executives at the network are contemplating replacing the big redhead, Conan O’Brien, and trying to resuscitate the dying Tonight Show with a jolt from its former golden boy, Jerry Seinfeld.

“NBC just can’t carry on like this,” a source tells PopEater. “The Tonight Show has lost 52 percent of its viewership in just one year. The November ratings will be the show’s lowest in 15 years. They’d be idiots to not be having the replacement conversation.”

What do you think? Should Conan be replaced? Sound off in the comments section!

About the Author

John Delery

John Delery has written thousands of articles and millions of words in his career, and still he has professional goals: He wants "Be honest with me, Doc: Will I ever tweet again?" to someday supplant "Take my wife...please" as the Great American punch line.

  • http://susan-boyle-news.blogspot.com Susan

    I love Conan! So sad to see him go – he’s a true class act and the best host that the Tonight Show ever had. He will be missed. Don’t ever change, Conan! We love you!

  • David

    I love Conan, always have, but I never really liked Leno. But I agree with what most people have, Conan’s tonight show antics are just to tame. We need the raw conan that we got during late night but i guess nbc didnt like that (I blame jeff zucker and leno for it). Best would be to get norm mcdonald and conan to co-host together (seriously, they are funny together). Besides why get Leno back? He has a dying audience (literally). Save the present fuck the future? Besides Leno bombed his show on purpose to fudge with coco’s ratings, thus fudging coco’s show. He is an evil berstard and I hope he dies.

  • GAIL E. Jordan

    There are a lot of immature, silly people out there who obviously have a low intellect if they find Conan entertaining. He is pathetic. Get rid of HIM pronto. I can’t even stand to look at him. He is so creepy and so very unfunny. Wake up – you nit wits who think he is qualified to carry on Johnny Carson’s tradition. What a waste. You must be as silly as he is!!!

  • faye goudreau

    I love Conan ..let him be himself ..some of the spark has left him must be the the Brass stifling him he was halairous in his own slot…bye to Leno thought he was going to retire and play with his toys…he is so bad now…sad..retire Jay..please no Senfield YUK

  • Jason

    It’s very unfortunate that NBC has put both of these men is such a difficult position. People need to stop blaming them individually and look at the network itself. It needs to do what is in the interest of public opinion and ratings. Obviously Conan has plundered the ratings in the 11:35 slot. He just isn’t funny. He is so overly impressed with himself — that no one else needs to be. I don’t think he was this bad on his original program, but perhaps memory fails. Leno did great at The Tonight Show but hasn’t carried the same fevre with him to 10:00. Not sure what happened, but it’s just not the same. Let’s consider it just might be time for a total over-haul. NBC needs to look at something new and fresh starting in February and NOT get locked into iron-tight contracts with has-been’s. Come on… NBC; by constantly bouncing the blame between Conan and Leno and not owning up to your own errors — you lose in the end. Come to a fair resolution with both men in agreement and launch a new program. Show some ingenuity. We’re all SICK OF ‘late night comedy (that isn’tA)’ — ‘reality shows’ (that aren’t) — and all the singing, dancing, etc. It’s all over-done by now and it’s getting a bit old. Be creative. Be innovative. Be daring — but stop bickering!!!!!!!!!

  • Joey

    Get rid of cocky Conan I can’t stand him. Bring Jay
    back and the ratings……………………….

  • Kathy

    Jay is yesterday’s news, not that funny and awkward and uncomfortable in his guest interviews. I just don’t get why NBC would risk losing Conan who is a comedic genius in his prime and is connected to what is now and relevant just to keep a fading entertainer for a few years.

    Hope Conan moves onto Fox or cable where he can do his thing, pioneer a new type of show and leave the NBC sinking ship behind him. NBC has its gears in reverse. Tone deaf NBC has really mistreated Conan and he shouldn’t agree to the time change. Maybe in two, three months after the change, they might decide that Jay needs an hour, pushing Conan back to his old time slot–coulda done that in New York. Gee why did he and his staff have to go through the drastic move and changes??

    Good luck, Conando. I’ll watch you where ever you go (Telemundo?) I never watched Leno, never will — Letterman and O’Brien are both way funnier.

    Update: Jerry Seinfeld you think it’s so wonderful, why don’t you take the midnight shift. You’d do great in the ratings at first…then they’d tank.

  • Keith Rogers

    Conan should turn his back on NBC and jump ship to FOX. NBC and their target audience is a dying breed. FOX’s audience is perfect for Conan’s comedic stylings, and I’m sure that FOX would give him free reign over deciding what content goes into his show, unlike now where he has to tone it down for the Tonight Show.

  • Bill

    Keep Conan, Move Leno to Comcast.

  • Vince

    Hopefully Fox will pick up Conan because he seems to fit that network better anyways. I only get to watch half of Conan’s show in the first place so if they shoved him to midnight, I would die. Good luck Conan.

  • Terry

    O’brien is an unfunny weasel. Cancel him. Cancel Leno too, that’s just Leno at 10:00pm instead of Leno at 11:35pm

  • Luke Richarson

    NBC won’t replace Conan the minute they do the 50% drop will remain because Fox would pick him up in a heart beat and then NBC would be facing more competition on late night.

  • Tom Foster

    My question is how did Conan ever get on tv in the first place?

  • Walterreally

    A lot of things to say about this.

    Firstly, remember that when Leno first started his stint at the Tonight Show he wasn’t exactly obliterating Letterman in ratings. But what happened over the course of time is that people who liked Leno’s brand of humour gravitated towards his time slot and over the course of nearly two decades Jay cultivated a certain audience that knew what they could and would expect at that particular timeslot. i.e. No two shows are the same. Some of Carson’s audience must not have seen Leno’s show as an ideal fit for their tastes in humour and they would have eventually stopped watching the show or switched to another show. However over his first 3-4 years, certain people channel surfing would have seen Jay’s show for the first time and decided that the show suited their sensibilities.

    The SAME is the case with Conan’s show. He is (as of today) being watched and judged by an audience that has largely been cultivated by Jay. Sure Conan was a late night talk show host before, but who’s to say that eventually he will not attract an audience that likes the slightly more aggressive content of his tonight show compares to Leno and yet not as laced with innuendos as his late night show was?

    There is definitely an audience for that. NBC has to decide whether there is such an audience

    And whether Conan can cultivate them successfully over the next few years.

    Secondly, Seinfeld as a talk show host would not work out. Personally, I think it will bring back in droves the people from the generation that watched Carson.

    However, we must remember that Seinfeld is renowned and popularly acclaimed not so much for his stand up as he is for his portrayal of Jerry Seinfeld from ‘Seinfeld’. While there are similarities between the real Jerry and the other persona portrayed in the form of the sitcom Jerry, the sitcom Jerry is seen as the more popular and familiar form of Jerry Seinfeld that people are acquainted with.

    Now imagine either Jerry Seinfelds interviewing a guest on the tonight show (the majority of who are ostentatious celebrities). Either JS (especially the sitcom Jerry) would not been seen by the people as the kind of host that would court or indulge them as THAT is who JS is seen by people to be. His stand up, his sitcom show are all based on his ability to see through people’s idiosyncracies and their artificialities. Seeing Jerry Seinfeld do the opposite will not sit well the viewers.

    The case has been made. Give Conan 3 more years. If it continues to decline, then axe him. But it is unfair to demand ratings when each and every day more people are switching to the internet for entertainment. Also, CBS and ABC post videos of Letterman and Kimmel interviwewing guests. 5-6 minutes clips are not uncommon. That is the duration of pratcically half the interview. And courting new age users or the younger generation whose first contact with entertainment is usually through the internet should be the primary aim. Case in point – Craig Ferguson gained a million viewers since he started posting clips from his shows in 2006. It gets people interested and if enamoured, they are willing to shell out cable subscription fees to watch the Tonight Show. Sadly, the NBC doesn’t even post any clips online. Denying the power of the internet is self defeating. Not a rant here, but NBC shouldn’t worry about Conan’s ability. They should do the little things right. Conan is an industry veteran who has proven his capabilities on various foras. Give the man time and he shall bloom.

  • Chuck

    Conan is just a sophomoric comedian and his biggest fan is himself. It’s obvious why the ratings have dropped – it’s him. I don’t think he can save the show.

  • http://brendanjordan.com Brendan Jordan

    If they treated Conan like that, after having basically shot him in the foot with the Leno deal, I would never watch NBC again.

    (I would simply have to illegally download The Office, 30 Rock, Parks & Rec, and Community)

    What? I’m not proud. I just have to stand up for my Irish-American brethren.

  • Ray

    I have been a loyal Conan fan since day one of the 12:30 show. He has consistently been one of the funniest people on television for many years. I’ve DVR’d and watched every episode of the Tonight Show and have to agree with many of the comments on here.

    Conan’s brand of humor was/is a perfect fit for the 12:30 time slot. He seems a bit off in the earlier slot on some nights. Instead of being himself, it seems as though they are trying to make him more Leno viewer friendly and it feels very forced and awkward.

    I knew as soon as he stopped doing the hip/string cutting thing in his opening that the powers that be at NBC were trying to make him change. We don’t want watered down Conan!! We want the masturbating bear, pimpbot, and vomiting Kermit Conan!!

    I also feel that his weakness is overdoing material. He will drag a bit out over the course of several shows or often weeks. Sometimes this works (like the Newark fued) and other times it doesn’t (like the current new Oprah stuff that was old after the 2nd night)

    I think NBC canning Leno would be a big boost to Conans ratings as well. It’s like replacing someone in a job but yet they are still at the office every day. Totally unfair to the new guy!

    If Conan goes, I will never watch another program on NBC.

  • CX3

    Good Grief; I never watch NBC anymore after 9:00 p.m. Anything of substance is now gone and replaced with MORE talk show crap. STOP with the talk shows, and put good, old TV back on.

    I think Leno is boring and I lost so much respect for him when he pulled The Tonight Show away from Conan with his Prime Time show. How many late night talk shows can a person be expected to watch? Conan isn’t getting viewers because everyone is sick of all the “TALK”.

    Jay announced quite loudly six years ago that he would be done in five years and Conan would be the new host. Then he changed his mind. Where is the integrity today? Is everyone a back stabbing, flake?

    Jay, you had your moment in the limelight, now go home and play with your toys and give Conan a chance.

  • Chacharoo

    I LOVE LENO – Conan is weird and I dont wanna see Seinfeld either altho I still love his show, but a little of him goes a long way. Maybe they should try Kathy Griffen or Whoopi, let a woman take over FINALLY! Hey, now there is a thought!
    WHY DOES IT ALWAYS HAVE TO BE A MAN?

  • Ahmad

    Yea, I agree with many and say that Leno’s show needs to be canceled already. I was a huge fan of Leno, but his 10PM gig is just horrible to the point that I rarely stayed tuned long enough on NBC to watch Conan. If Leno finally lets go, I think Conan can bring the ratings back up.

  • RDM

    Not a question. Conan’s talent is incredible. I’ve always felt he was heir to Carson (Johnny, not the talentless boob on after Late Night). I have to say that ever since Conan took over Tonight it seems he’s not fully himself, perhaps too much influence by the network big-wigs/bean counters. Let him do what he does so well….be funny on his own terms and he’ll certainly deliver.

  • Blah Blah Blah

    This argument goes on every time there is a change in hosts. Late night shows still go on and people still laugh. Quit being so uppity. “So and so is not funny, Buddy Washisname is not funny” and so on. You can’t honestly tell me that any of the current hosts will NOT make you laugh. Sure you may not think that they are the funniest person in the world but whatever. Relax and have a laugh.

  • Mysterwright

    Am I the only one with the blinders off here? No offense, I love Andy Richter but as soon as he came back to work with Conan, that is when this current tirade of bellyaching began. They have great chemistry together. Can the ratings handle it? Perhaps, if viewers from 3/4 of society (i.e. including irish and jews, all minorities, excluding LDS and other known troublemakers) were all polled. The problem is that you got Harold and Kumar “cockboys” in the same corporate leadership position Cheney had until this past January. They are doing all they can while they can because their days are becoming numbered under Obama. God forbid Andy and Conan making it seem like the Irish or anyone not “white” enough to the highest ranks of elitist society are multiplying. Was it wrong under President Kennedy and his brother Robert? If so, how?
    Its not like they sit there all hour reciting Grapes of Wrath like Andy Kaufman did The Great Gatsby. Would TBS cancel Lopez Tonight if Belita Moreno (Benny from George Lopez Show) was George’s co-host? I am surprised and ashamed for society the same as I was in fall of 1990 when Super Mario Bros. Super Show wasn’t renewed in afternoon cartoon syndication. This has got to stop! Grow up, all you neurotic corporate suits and inbred Chinatown bankrollers! You specifically make the countries that USA borrows money from look bad just like S&L scandal.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBA-xi8WuCU

  • Nikki

    Keep Conan, lose Leno…Seinfeld would never be able to pull off the work that it takes for an entire Late Night Talk Show. Conan is one of the best at this genre and he’ll just keep getting better in this slot.(especially if Leno isn’t dragging the network down)

  • Kyle

    I liked Conan a lot during the “Late Night” years. I can’t put my finger on it, but ever since he took over “Tonight”, something’s been off (for me)…he’s just rarely funny anymore (to me). I’m not saying Seinfeld at 11:35 is necessarily the answer, but I’m at the point where I’ve stopped watching Conan, so I’m open to the idea of a replacement.

  • GBoat

    If Conan left, the tonight show would lose the other 48 percent of their viewers.

  • Violet

    I got worried when I heard that the hags of The View were all whining that they miss Leno at 11:30 and want him back on the Tonight Show. If that is the demographic that gave the Tonight Show big ratings before, then no… Conan can’t win.

    I’ve been a fan of Conan’s since his first season of Late Night and before I even knew it before that (always loved those years of SNL and the Simpsons the most). He’s awesome and still funny.. I just don’t think his humor translates to this Hollywood/big stage/over produced timeslot well, and The View demographic that loved Leno will never ever get it.

    His humor meshed so perfectly with Late Night and the style of show it was. I have to say I really miss him at 12:35 and sometimes forget to tune over so early.

    I would love to have him back at 12:35 in NYC… But would they actually do that? I can’t believe Carson Daly still even has a job. wtf. If they get rid of Conan and Carson Daly is still getting paid, there is a sign of the end of the world right there.

  • Doogie

    The 10pm Leno experiment has failed. Big surprise, there, huh? The show is boring and forced.

    Conan was a better fit at 12:30a Shandling would be an inspired choice, but likely skew too old. I can’t believe I’m even thinking this, but . . Neil Patrick Harris is someone who could appeal to the younger demo . . and . .actually handle the gig.

    Seinfeld is a stand up, not a talk show host. And he has more money than he can spend in three lifetimes. Does anyone seriously think he would ever want to work that hard?

    And Fallon? Seriously? Not even worth discussion.

    NBC is desperate and they have only themselves to blame. They seem unable to make an intelligent programming decision.

  • yesplease

    Conan’s comment about Susan Boyle the other night was awful. He needs to go.

  • Mike

    Can you say OPRAH!!!!

  • Mike

    I concur with earlier comments that Conan has seemingly lost it since the move to LA. I think the move to LA/leaving New York is just as much part of his problem as the time change. I’ve DVR’d Conan for years but just stopped doing so in the last week. The Tponight Show is too LA/Hollywood.

    Offer Conan his old show back. This has the added bonus of getting rid of Jimmy Fallon, too(the least enjoyable of anyone in this mix) I’d be amenable to trying Seinfeld (although, I thought he was happy living on the East Coast. Larry David would NEVER do host a show but boy, would THAT be appointment TV.

  • John J

    I think Conan is awesome. I did not get to watch him much late night. Since his move to the Tonight Show, I do not watch Letterman at all and now watch Conan. IMO, Conan’s problem might be that young people (18-34) do not watch late night TV with all the a cable options since they grew up with cable. Boomers probably still dominate the network late night TV audience and do not appreciate Conan’s humor and miss Leno at this time slot. Over time, it should work out. I hope they stick with Conan. Please no more Leno (or Seinfeld).

  • http://www.p41.com Matt

    Conan needs to STAY. Cancel Leno NOW, he is killing NBC. I love Seinfeld, he should replace Kimmel.

  • Rob M

    Anthony M.: Conan’s ratings on The Tonight Show are still better than when he was at Late Night. How much of that is based on the earlier timeslot naturally leading to more viewers, who knows, but I don’t see where you can argue his old viewers left him based on ratings.

  • Sgt. Sanguine

    Jerry Seinfeld is nothing without Larry David, and NBC is nothing without Conan O’Brien.

  • Eduardo

    Seinfeld and Leno are practically the same worn out comedian from the 80s, and Conan does a much better job of drawing in the money demo. To favor Leno or Seinfeld and drop Conan would be like fucking grandma. It would be a horrible, nonsensical thing to do.

  • Jake

    Honestly, I think Conan is the only reason why I watch late-night TV. I absolutely can’t stand Leno, Seinfeld, or Fallon. If Conan goes, I will personally hire him to perform for me because otherwise I wouldn’t be able to make it through the week.

  • Derrick

    I like Conan, I don’t think he should leave,the show will definetly go under with most other people, including Seinfeld. But stop blaming Leno, he was on top for like what? 15 years? Of course there’s going to be some drops in ratings after a new host comes on.

  • Bmwm5

    Conan is by far one of the best comedians and talk show hosts I’ve seen. I would be extremely disappointed to see him go.

  • Jamie

    Conan >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Leno/Seinfield

    Conan is brilliant, but like my fellow Conezoners have said, there are WAY too many talk shows and Jay Leno has to GO.

  • http://notraywagner.com Ray Wagner

    The other problem with this rumor is that unscripted Seinfeld is kind of unlikable. TV Jerry wouldn’t be getting The Tonight Show (or any other talk show.) It’d be real life Jerry, and he has a tendency to come off as snarky and condescending.

  • Jimbo

    Conan SUCKS. Get him off the air.

  • http://twitter.com/watthead Ryan fROMOHIO

    I’d rather see Seinfeld replace Jay “douche” Leno. I’ve been a loyal CoCo fan since he was a writer at SNL. Haven’t really watched SNL much since Phil Hartman left though.

    Keep Conan, dump Leno and Fallon. Maybe Seinfeld or Garry Shandling at 10pm and then perhaps Jon Stewart or Chris Hardwick at 12:30.

    I’d watch The Magic Hour over Jay Leno.

  • Cupid Stunt

    I rarely watch Conan on TV but I’ll watch him on hulu when he has a guest that I care about (I’m in the 18-24 dem).

    Guests that I care about = Norm Macdonald.

    He should have more comedians on the show…and by that I mean he should actually interview them. When Conan is scripted, its PAINFULLY obvious. When he isn’t, he’s hilarious. NBC doesn’t understand this.

    Less athletes, less young Hollywood, less people who have nothing to say.

    Talk shows suck when it’s just celebrities plugging their latest movie no one cares about.

    Fuck “roll the clip”

  • Ash Cassel

    Keep Conan. Seinfeld and Leno are truly unbearable.

  • http://www.infinitehollywood.com Newton Gimmick

    Thank goodness this site isn’t a bunch of Conan bashing like I see on that god awful PopEater which is ran by those neo-cons over at AOL.

    Conan’s Tonight Show isn’t as good as he was at Late Night, but he’s had pretty terrible guests. He has a HORRIBLE lead in with Leno and as someone else pointed out there are simply too many talk shows on NBC at the moment. No one cares to get booked on the Tonight Show when they have 15 other shows to get booked on.

  • http://www.cdnn.info/news/article/a071104.html Goulet

    I too was thrilled to see Conan move earlier so I could watch his antics earlier. His content was somewhat affected, but it seems he did not have to entirely drink the 11:30 Kool-Aid.
    I agree that putting Leno on earlier lets everyone get their beloved Leno fix earlier then switch to the old guy on CBS who used to be funny.
    If it goes to Seinfeld, watch the ratings spike at first then fall off the face of the earth.
    IMHO I think Andy should get the boot.

  • Amanda

    Yes, I have never liked Conan! I think that Jay Leno should get his late night spot back, or Jerry would be good, but definately get rid of Conan!

  • http://www.twitter.com/kizmetbaby Ida

    Jerry Seinfeld is like sex without penetration. Jay Leno is tired. If NBC had half a clue…they’d ditch Fallon and funnel some of the mondo ass kissing they’ve been doing trying to save that piece of schlock and give it to Conan. They’re stretching resources…they’ve over programmed nights with too many shows…and as a result cheapened their product.

    I know the older skewing viewers have to be his weakness…it even seemed for a while that his jokes were being written to try to appeal to that demo as they were a bit forced and not as genuine…but dear GOD…the man is hilarious and creative. I literally refuse to watch NBC again if they make the mistake of bailing on Conan without giving him a chance to redeem himself.

    Leno at 10…Conan at 1130…Fallon at 1230 and Carson Daly after that. This is NOT MSNBC.

    Whoever made the poor decision to sabotage the network needs their ass handed to them. Conan…is the ONLY reason we even watch NBC, with the exception of SNL which is hit or miss at best these days.

  • Tee Vee Viewer

    Conan hasn’t been funny from day one and his effort to mug and dance around in order to elicit some sort of laughter from TV audiences is just sad. He’s better than Fallon (who isn’t?), but he needs to go.

  • http://www.chaseroper.com Chase Roper

    I also third Brendan. The “Leno fan” demographic still has the option to get their late night fix from Leno and aren’t watching Conan. Not to say that Conan is the only logical host to watch if Leno was canceled, but maybe. . .

  • lana

    Conan should stay. He is gonna make those rating high again, he always does. Jerry will kill the show withing a month. I’m all for Conan O’Brian.

  • Anthony M.

    I was always a big fan of Conan during his time as the host of Late Night. When he took over the Tonight Show, I was excited for him, and excited to enjoy his comedy at an earlier time.

    However, it seems to me that he lost the ability to entertain somewhere between the ending of Late Night and the first airing of the Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien. The show is too ‘polished’ and scripted now to be considered entertaining, or even watchable for me; the ratings prove that others probably feel the same as I do.

    Overall, the decision to put Conan on the Tonight show was indeed a bad one. Something has to be done to spice up the show, even if it means replacing Conan. Though it may not happen, the thought of Conan being forced out the door because of the poor decision to shuffle hosts around angers me. Shame on you NBC.

  • Big Al E

    Alex, obviously Seinfeld would have lots of writers working for him, just like Conan does. Its not like Conan writes ALL his jokes for the tonight show. but i do agree with everyone else, i really don’t want Conan to go.

  • amy

    ditto to brendan. i love conan, but leno has got to go!

  • Brendan McLaughlin

    I say stand by Conan, cancel Leno. Do I have to think of everything?

  • http://blogspot@thordoggie.com Alex Kaseberg, San Diego

    Should Seinfeld replace Conan? Absolutely not. Seinfeld knew, when he was awarded a pilot by NBC, he could not write enough material to support a weekly show, that is why he went in with Larry David. Seinfeld is a great comedian, that does not mean he would be a good talk show host. See: Chevy Chase. Dennis Miller.

    Conan will turn the ratings around. Remember, he almost got canned from “Late Night.”

  • Tony

    What the fuck?

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