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Will NBC Continue to String Carson Daly Along?

Where did it all go wrong for Carson Daly? After all, the guy was Ryan Seacrest before Ryan Seacrest was Ryan Seacrest. He served his time in Los Angeles radio, he did his stint on reality television and, heck, everyone thought he was on his way to becoming the next Dick Clark. He managed to scratch and claw his way into the stable of NBC’s late-night fraternity back in 2002, serving as the host of Last Call with Carson Daly and effectively becoming the third banana on NBC’s late-night totem pole (behind Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien). But despite playing the role of all-around team player — his New Year’s Eve show on NBC is making steady inroads against the competition (damn you, Seacrest!), the Last Call audience has grown 4 percent this year — Daly was passed over by NBC in favor of Jimmy Fallon for the Late Night gig. Adding insult to injury, the recent news that Jay Leno will be moving to 10 p.m. in the fall has NBC trying to decide exactly whether or not their late-night future includes Carson Daly.

Well, according an article published in this week’s TV Week, NBC has begun negotiating with Daly in advance of his August contract-expiration date. Rick Ludwin, NBC’s executive V.P. for late-night and prime-time series, has gone on the record saying that his network is interested in keeping Daly on the team — for a price. “We’re going through the budgetary process with all of our shows.” Mr. Ludwin told TV Week. “There are new budgetary realities. … It’s tough. We want to keep [Carson] going as long as we can make the budget work.”

While we won’t pretend to know what decision is best for Daly or his career, there is one thing that we’re certain of: In today’s wintry economic climate, it’s far better to have a job than it is to be looking for one. That said, if Carson is looking to turn that frown upside-down, he doesn’t have to look far: Jennifer Love-Hewitt is single again!

NBC Wants to Keep Daly on ‘Last Call’ [TV Week]

Will NBC Continue to String Carson Daly Along?