Jay Leno is a tested professional with seventeen years of experience behind a late-night desk, so there’s almost no way his new 10 p.m. show can fail, unless it’s somehow botched by the network — and something like that would never happen at Ben Silverman’s NBC, right? Prepare to be shocked! Vulture buddy Nikki Finke today reveals the top-secret details of a golf game between Jeff Zucker and the producer of Conan O’Brien’s Tonight Show, Jeff Ross (“Ross is the better player, while Zucker has a 14 handicap and can barely keep up”), during which the two worried about how Leno’s new show might impinge on Conan’s. Apparently there’s already a storm brewing!
According to Finke, along with telling Leno which staff members to fire, Peacock brass has demanded he “back off booking A-list celebrities because it would encroach on O’Brien’s turf.” (The Daily Beast’s Kim masters also hinted at this last week.) So how bad will Leno’s new guests be? We can’t imagine NBC will want him competing with Jimmy Fallon for star power, either. So will he and Carson Daly be forced to fight over emo bands and ventriloquists? If Jeff Zucker and Ben Silverman have their way, it sounds like Leno will be interviewing the actors playing murdered corpses on other networks’ concurrently airing crime-investigation shows.