When Conan O'Brien announced last week that he would be returning to television this November via cable station TBS, the news reverberated throughout the television community. Was it a step down for O'Brien to move from network TV to basic cable? What would the show look like? What would his deal be? It seems that everybody has an opinion — including former rival and "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno.
"I think he'll be great. He's a very funny guy. ... I knew he'd land on his feet," Leno told "Access Hollywood" over the weekend. "It'll be fun. Everybody will compete. Everything after 11 o'clock is now the most exciting place to be."
When asked if he was surprised that O'Brien had landed at TBS and not at Fox, Leno said, "I didn't know what to think. Fox is network, but they have cable too. It's all sort of the same now. Network, cable — everybody sort of reaches the same thing. But I think it's exciting and I think he'll do well."
Though O'Brien had been negotiating with Fox, the TBS deal apparently came together over the course of a week. O'Brien was careful to make sure he had the endorsement of fellow late-night host George Lopez — whose "Lopez Tonight" currently occupies the 11 o'clock slot that O'Brien will take over in November — so as not to undercut him the way many people feel Leno did when O'Brien briefly took over as the host of "The Tonight Show."
Since returning to the fold as the host of "The Tonight Show," Leno has reestablished his familiar place at the top of the late-night ratings, besting longtime rival David Letterman. Meanwhile, O'Brien's Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television Tour continues this Thursday in San Francisco. He'll remain on the road until June 14.
What do you think of Jay Leno's comments about Conan O'Brien's new show? Does it matter that O'Brien is on cable instead of on a network? Let us know in the comments!