I'm going to take a break from our regularly scheduled programming to say that I am so proud of Conan O'Brien and Jay Leno for refusing to simply deliver a bunch of tow-the-party-line platitudes about the craziness going down at NBC right now.
As a television writer of the drama variety, I am, of course, thrilled to be getting back five hours for original programming every week.
Which does not mean that I bear any ill-will toward Jay Leno-- when the writers were on strike, he was a prince among men. Aside from the writing-his-monologues-thing, but apparently that was sanctioned by the Guild, so it's hard to hold that against him (though I did, at the time).
I certainly didn't expect Jay Leno to be a hit in primetime. I don't know if anyone did-- including NBC.
But neither did I expect the chaos that seems to be happening right now. Or the disrespect with which O'Brien and Leno are being treated.
(I should have expected the disrespect part, perhaps. It's far from shocking in this town. Have I mentioned that WP and I were fired totally without warning-- or, for that matter, cause-- from our own show the day the strike ended? Hmmmmm. Curious. Anyhoo. Nothing surprises me anymore. Except kindness. Sob. But seriously, it was the best thing that could've happened-- these things tend to work out as they should.)
And WHAT HAPPENED TO RULE ONE? I'm breaking it into splintered shards all over the place!
So let me bring this home: Conan O'Brien, Jay Leno, good for you. The situation you're in sucks, and you're saying so, straight up, right there on the screen for all of America and the internet to see, and you're making NBC pay you for the privilege.
Well done, boys.
And now, courtesy of NBC.com, here's Conan:
And here's Leno: