A top NBC executive is blaming his network's current late night controversy on Conan O'Brien, calling him a, quote, "astounding failure,"according to the New York Times.
Dick Ebersol, the chairman of NBC Sports and a key executive in many late night decisions at the network over many years, told the newspaper Jay Leno is returning to late night for one simple reason: the disappointing ratings O'Brien has scored during his time on The Tonight Show. Ebersol told the Times, quote, "What this is really all about is an astounding failure by Conan."
Ebersol said he met with O'Brien a few weeks before he was scheduled to take over The Tonight Show last June and advised him to adjust his style in order to reach a wider audience. Ebersol told the newspaper, quote, "I like Conan enormously personally. He was just stubborn about not being willing to broaden the appeal of the show." People close to O'Brien confirmed to the Times that the host had met with Ebersol and discussed potential changes to the program.
The NBC exec also criticized O'Brien and David Letterman for making Jay Leno the butt of numerous jokes this week. Ebersol said, quote, "It;s chicken-hearted and gutless to blame a guy you couldn't beat in the ratings. They're just striking out at Jay. It seems like professional jealousy."
Leno himself has contributed a number of jokes to the conflict, telling his primetime audience Thursday night, quote, "With all the controversy going on here at NBC, actually The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien's ratings have gone up. So you're welcome."
Ebersol summed up NBC's late night mess by saying, quote, "We bet on the wrong guy."
This NBC Exec sounds like a big tool. They should keep making it easier and easier for me to dislike NBC! ~Vanessa