Some folks in the comedy world have moved on from the 2010 late-night wars. David Letterman and Jay Leno even shot a Super Bowl commercial together last Tuesday in which the hosts appeared to bring their latest feud to a close. Others are still angered. On Thursday, before the Super Bowl spot aired, comedian Sarah Silverman came to the defense of Conan O’Brien , whom she maintained was treated poorly by his network bosses.
“I just thought it was a real scumbag move of NBC,” Silverman told MTV News. “They should not be allowed to call themselves the NBC family. That should be their punishment.”
At issue is the network’s decision to replace Conan on “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno just seven months after the younger host took over. Silverman argued that Conan’s long history with NBC — he began hosting “Late Night” in 1993 — and the sacrifice of moving from the East Coast to the West Coast should have been enough to give O’Brien some ratings wiggle room.
“Conan did a lot for NBC,” she said. “He was there a long time. They gave him a break. They gave him what he deserved. [Then he] uproots his family. The whole crew and cast and everyone that works on the show uproots from New York City and moves to L.A. That’s not an easy thing to do. They enroll their kids in school.”
Silverman is more than a little familiar with the late-night landscape. In addition to being a longtime presence on various late-night shows, she dated ABC host Jimmy Kimmel for much of the last decade. While she acknowledges that NBC made a business decision — not a personal one — she also made it clear that new talk shows need time to develop a loyal audience in any given time slot. When asked if she’d return as a guest to “Tonight” — she appeared five times with Leno in the past — Silverman confessed she was unsure.
“I don’t know,” she said.