While NBC executives pray that the break in regular programming provided by the upcoming Winter Olympics will dim the memories of viewers still smarting from the network’s decision to return Jay Leno to “The Tonight Show,” Conan O’Brien’s future remains a mystery.
One possible new home that has been the focus of much speculation is Fox, whose reported interest in O’Brien several years ago prompted NBC’s original decision to “retire” Leno and hand over the “Tonight Show “ desk to the younger comedian last year.
On Tuesday afternoon, near the end of a conference call covering Fox parent News Corp’s second quarter, a reporter from The Wall Street Journal took a chance and asked the company’s Chairman and CEO, Rupert Murdoch, about a possible deal with the former “Late Night” host.
“Let me, just ask about late night then, do you think you guys should and will start a late night TV show with Conan O’Brien?” Shira Ovide inquired.
“As I said there were different opinions within the network,” Murdoch replied. “If, certainly if, the program people can show us that we could do it, and be fairly confident of making a profit on it, we’d do it in a flash, but we’re giving it a lot of thought and a lot of examination.”
“But you haven’t started talks with, with Conan or his representatives?” Ovide asked.
“I’m sure there’ve been some conversations, but no if you mean talks, if you mean negotiation, real negotiations, no,” Fox President and COO Chase Carey, who was also present at the conference call, answered.
In other words, if O’Brien can prove to Murdoch that he can put more money into News Corp’s already sizeable coffers with a talk show on Fox, he’ll have a home there. If not, he’ll have to keep looking for a new place to hang his hat.
Thursday, February 4
Wil Anderson, Dan Levy, Brad Wollack – “Chelsea Lately”
Jamie Foxx, Robin Thicke – “Late Show with David Letterman”
Wanda Sykes – “The Jay Leno Show”
Adam Sandler, Kate Voegele – “The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien” – rerun
The Bravery – “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”
Hot Chip – “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon”
The Raveonettes – “Last Call with Carson Daly” – rerun
Friday, February 5
Jamie Foxx – “The View”
Robin Thicke – “Live with Regis and Kelly”
The Osbournes – “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”
Lily Tomlin – “The Bonnie Hunt Show”
Patti Smith – “The Tavis Smiley Show”
Ross Mathews,Jen Kirkman, Matt Braunger – “Chelsea Lately” – rerun
The Swell Season – “Late Show with David Letterman”
Bill Maher – “The Jay Leno Show”
Diane Birch – “The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien” – rerun
Ozzy Osbourne, Barry Manilow – “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”
Jill Scott – “Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson”
Lisa Hannigan – “Last Call with Carson Daly” – rerun