Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Jay Leno: Why is This Man a Lame Duck?

The Corsair was utterly confused at the announcement that Conan O'Brien would be taking over the Tonight Show reins from Jay Leno in 2009. Baffled, really. Why announce this news so early? Hadn't he done extraordinary things for the network, kicking Letterman's ass from here to Czechoslovakia? Obviously the announcement was made to avoid the infamous acrimony of the Jay Leno-David Letterman succession battles, on the one hand; and, on the other, to assuage the giganter egos of both Conan and his very, very able management team (good doing you guys, any chance you would represent a blogger? no? Whatever). But that's not enough of a reason to throw me off the scent.

The Corsair does not go gently into that good night. There had to be something else. There had to be. Why else would Leno construe himself a lame duck, giving Letterman and CBS a freebee to scrape timeshare away, to gain ground? No one is that much of a team player that they would sacrifice their legacy for "the greater good" of their network. That significant cultural artifact, The National Enquirer, thinks it has the answer, and, because enquiring minds want to know:

"Jay Leno made a promise to his wife Mavis that he'd leave 'The Tonight Show' before he turned 60.

"And that's the real reason why the 54-year-old comedian announced that he'd turn over the reins of NBC's venerable late night talk show to Conan O'Brien in five years.

"'A long time ago I made a promise to my wife that I wasn't going to be spending our so-called golden years working all the time, as I am now,' Jay told a friend.

"'I told her I'd stop before I reached 60, and I intend on keeping that promise.

"This isn't some ploy to squeeze more money out of the network. I have enough money. It's time that I don't have enough of!"

"... He quipped recently to a buddy, 'What more do I need? I have all the cars I want now. The only thing I could never replace is my wife!'"

The whole story here.

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