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Conan O’Brien on Thursday had a striking (and personal) takedown of NBC, which is under heavy criticism for scheduling a town hall event with President Donald Trump at the same time as an ABC town hall with former Vice President Joe Biden.
“I can’t remember the last time I was this shocked by an NBC programming decision,” O’Brien quipped Thursday.
O’Brien famously had The Tonight Show taken away from him in 2010 when NBC reinstalled Jay Leno as host after just eight months. NBC had given Leno a nightly primetime show in the 2009-10 season, and when ratings for both it and The Tonight Show flagged, NBC moved to replace O’Brien with the former host.
O’Brien then staged a comedy tour and eventually signed with TBS, where Conan premiered in November 2010.
As for NBC, the network said Thursday morning it would not budge, even as pressure built from current and former talent for the town hall time to be changed. Home of Trump’s Apprentice, NBC was accused of once again kowtowing to him rather than serving the public interest. “You are enabling the president’s bad behavior while undercutting the Presidential Debate Commission and doing a disservice to the American public,” reads a petition from more than 100 top showrunners, producers and stars.
NBC News Group chairman Cesar Conde said in a statement that “we share in the frustration that our event will initially air alongside the first half of ABC’s broadcast with Vice President Biden,” adding, “Our decision is motivated only by fairness, not business considerations.”
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