Conan O’Brien and Carson Daly: Odd Men Left Out on Late Night Television

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As the late night battle between Jay and Conan comes to an end with Jimmy Fallon in the middle, there’s just one question: what about Carson Daly? After all, he DOES have a late night show on NBC called Last Call with Carson Daly, which airs after Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, which airs after The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien, which airs after the local news.

This was supposed to be a tradition — a perfect system until NBC asked Jay Leno to “come back home” to late night for a half-hour at 11:35pm, followed by Conan at 12:05am, then Jimmy at 1:05am. But where in the world would have Carson Daly show been? Probably at either 2:05am or lost in the shuffle. Though there have been rumors of cancellation, there’s no official word yet on the fate of Last Call. Now, Leno is coming back to his “old stomping grounds” at 11:35pm, as Conan will be getting a hefty settlement out of his contract from NBC — and legions of fans rooting for him outside in the rain the other day.

Both NBC and Jay Leno may have “jumped the shark” by giving him his primetime show doing the same thing he has always done for the last 17 years. However, here’s the problem: it came on at 10pm against CSI: Miami and CSI: NY, Castle, The Good Wife, The Mentalist, Private Practice, and NUMB3RS.

Now, with Jay coming back to his “old stomping grounds”, NBC is starting to fill the 10pm slot with new episodes of Law & Order coming to Monday nights on March 1, with SVU moving to another hour on Wednesdays March 3. NBC should’ve brought back Southland for the Thursday 10pm slot, but thank TNT for picking it up. Hopefully, the series will have better luck on its new home. The same goes for Conan O’Brien, wherever he goes — whether it is FOX or cable as his best bet.

He got a raw deal with NBC, who told him that in five years, he’ll be hosting The Tonight Show. However, part of the reason the deal went south is because NBC didn’t want to lose Jay Leno, leading to his own primetime show, which may have hurt Conan’s chances of succeeding his predecessors.

Still, NBC should not only think about Conan, but they and viewers should’ve also thought more about Carson Daly — for that is a Total Request. Perhaps the reason it is called Last Call with Carson Daly is because the show is the Last Call of late night television with celebrity interviews, music, and variety before the viewers “go to sleep”.

With The Wanda Sykes Show and Lopez Tonight, Jay Leno may be back on late night, but if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, for his time has already passed.

Garrett Godwin is an entertainment journalist, who writes for NewsBlaze about television and people in the entertainment industry, from his home state of Michigan. Contact Garrett by writing to NewsBlaze.