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Bill  Carter

“The one thought Conan had on the spot about the half hour at 11:35 was that it would likely exacerbate the problem he already had with Leno. 'So at least now, Jay does his show, but there's the break of the news, and that's kind of the reset button,' Conan said to Gaspin and Graboff. 'At 11:35 Jay's going to come out and do twenty jokes. And then what's he going to do?'

When they replied that it seemed likely he would have only one guest, Conan said, 'OK. And then I come out and do what?'

The NBC guys didn't really have an answer for that other than what Conan had already been doing: his own monologue. That this now seemed like a late-night pileup - three shows with monologues lined up end to end - was the implication no one had really addressed.

Finally Conan did have something he really wanted to say, something that had almost burned a hole in his chest. 'What does Jay have on you?' Conan asked, his voice still low, his tone still even. 'What does this guy have on you people? What the hell is it about Jay?”


Bill Carter, The War for Late Night: When Leno Went Early and Television Went Crazy
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