I went into this book with the same mindset I've had since January of last year. "Ooooo, I hate Jay Leno! You self-important unfunny bastard; LOOK WHAT YOU DID TO MY CONAN!" I was still seething from when Jay Leno took the Tonight Show away from Coco after only seven months of some hit or miss shows. Funny thing, for whatever reason, my hatred of Leno blinded me from the sheer stupidity of NBC. When I was finished this book, I still disliked Leno but I hated NBC more.
There were some good points brought up here in defence of Leno, but there were also some points made that made him look like an asshole. That being said, the book wasn't pro-Conan entirely either. In NBC's defence, they did make some suggestions to Conan that he more or less ignored. Then again, NBC had been looking for Conan to change his comedy style to suit people who were not fans. As much of a dream as Conan wanted to label his time on The Tonight Show, as the author points out, it's a job - it's still a job. When you're an employee, you have to listen to your boss.
For the life of me, I can't wrap my head around NBC's stance that they couldn't let Leno go to another network. Yes, he was #1 in late night - but the man was OLD. He wasn't going to do this forever, surely he only had a few more years in the tank. I also can't understand who finds this man funny. Other than "Headlines", which is just Jay reading (or screaming) typos that other people send in, there's really no reason to watch his show. He's not funny and he's painfully annoying. I just don't get it.
I really enjoyed this book. Not only does the author shed some light on The Tonight Show fiasco from last year but you get some background on the other late night hosts. There's some interesting stuff about Letterman, Stewart, Colbert and Kimmel. It kind of left me wanting a book about Letterman as the stuff about Dave was facinating.
In my opinion, it all worked out for the best. Leno gets his show back on a network that doesn't deserve better and Conan gets his own show on cable TV where he doesn't have to answer to the affiliates. Conan is also $45 million richer! Go team COCO!
** If there is any reason to read this book, you have to catch the epilogue. It features some quotes from Jerry Seinfeld that basically makes this whole thing ridiculous. Some funny stuff indeed.