How much does Jay Leno want HBO to make The Late Shift 2? So much so that he's even recycling his ancient zinger from the 1993 NBC press conference that announced his triumph over Letterman for The Tonight Show, where he rode in on a motorcycle (Jay Leno's #1 rule for making any situation funnier: "Uh, add a vehicle?"), strode to the podium in his "Everyman" outfit (light denim button-down, light jeans), and said "You know what NBC stands for? Never Believe your Contract!"
If that line sounds especially fresh to you this morning, you either a.) Really love Jay-Walking and would never miss an episode of The Jay Leno Show (He's changing the face of comedy! By keeping it exactly the same!), and so you saw Leno deliver that joke again in his monologue last night, or b.) You've seen this clip this morning.
Recycling seventeen-year-old zingers and refusing to leave—That's so Leno! Isn't it obvious why NBC wants to hold on to him? The guy is just so fresh and entertaining. If another network like, as Leno suggests, Fox got a hold of Leno and his secret comedy formula ("Uh, add a vehicle?" and "If your show starts at 10, ask a guest a series of 10 dull questions via video."), that network would clearly become a Late Night powerhouse. (And if The Jay Leno Show proved anything, it's that Leno is really adaptable to new environments. He can be mediocre wherever he lands.)
So, obviously, NBC plans to move Leno back to 11:35pm. No word yet on if he'll be taking any of his children with him.
Or if he'll change his ground-breaking "10 @ 10" segment to "1,135 @ 11:35"
Because the only way to make that segment better would be to make it longer.
Now TMZ is reporting that Conan is deciding whether to follow the Jay Leno Mirthless Late-Night Landgrab Half-Hour, and start his show at midnight, or to leave NBC and go to another network that wouldn't make him drive his tidy little SmartCar behind a big old bus, choking on billowing exhaust fumes all the way (to put it in terms that Leno would understand). Does this sound vaguely familiar? HBO is probably already readying the chin putty.