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Conan O'Brien ousts Jay Leno and David Letterman from Emmys

July 8, 2010 |  8:08 am

Conan-obrien-and-jay-leno As expected, Conan O'Brien was rewarded for submitting himself with an Emmy nomination for his seven-month tenure at the helm of "The Tonight Show." While it isn't so surprising that he edged out the returning Jay Leno -- who won this award once (1995) during his first 17 years hosting this late-night staple -- it is a jaw-dropper that "Late Show with David Letterman" is missing from this race for the first time since it debuted in 1994.

"Late Show" won the Emmy for its first season and then picked up five in a row beginning in 1998. That winning streak was halted by "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," which has owned this category since 2003 and contends once again this year. O'Brien will face this Comedy Central hit head-on in the ratings when he launches his new chat fest on TBS in the fall.

It took O'Brien a full decade of hosting "Late Night" before his show landed its first Emmy bid in the variety comedy music series category in 2003. It contended unsuccessfully in this race for five years. In both 2008 and 2009, "Late Night" lost its slot in the list of nominees to the resurgent "Saturday Night Live," which is in the hunt once more.

The other two nominees have been perennial Emmy bridesmaids. "The Colbert Report" earned its fifth consecutive nomination and has an excellent chance to prevail this year thanks to an episode it plans to submit to Emmy jurors -- the host's hilarious and heartfelt trip to Iraq. "Real Time with Bill Maher" earned nom No. 6 but has failed to win a single Emmy, even in the crafts categories. Indeed, Maher is the new Susan Lucci, ranking as the biggest loser in the history of TV's top award, with 22 defeats and no wins for producing, writing and performance.

The new edition of "Late Night" -- helmed by Emmy host Jimmy Fallon -- was snubbed this year. Also missing is "The Mo'Nique Show," starring the "Precious" actress who swept the last film awards derby (New York Film Critics Circle to Oscars).

O'Brien and his scribes are also in the hunt for a bookend to the Emmy they won in the writing race in 2007 after being also-rans every year from 1996 to 2004 and then again in 2006. That was the only Emmy won by "Late Night" out of 29 nominations, including two more bids for writing in 2008 and 2009. In 2008, the "Late Night" writers lost to the team behind "The Colbert Report" and in 2009 to the crew of "The Daily Show."

Letterman, who won four consecutive Emmys as part of the writing team on the original "Late Night" beginning in 1984, had been a perennial writing nominee for "Late Show" until this year. However, Leno and his team of gag writers were snubbed by the Emmys for the entire run of his first version of the "Tonight Show." Beyond that 1995 win for best variety comedy series, his show took home just three technical awards for a track record of four Emmys out of 40 nominations. The last nomination for Leno's edition was in 2005, when he contended for the now-defunct individual performance prize, losing to Tony Awards host Hugh Jackman.

Photo: Conan O'Brien guesting on the original "Tonight Show with Jay Leno." Credit: NBC


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The comments to this entry are closed.



Jean isn't wrong. Just a difference of opinion.
As of this week, Leno and Conan are about even in the key demographics, and even when Leno is below is not much of a difference.

In total audience, Leno now attracts abotu 3.8 million people, still far more than Conan's 2.5 million.

Leno has never been an Emmy favorite, but was the no.1 show in late night for 15 years attracting over 5 million people every night. Conan never came close to that (except for his debut and his exit).

Leno's high ratings translated in ratings win for Conan's "Late Night Show" for 15 years, yet Jay gets no credit for this.

Uh hello?? Just because Leno gets more viewers does NOT make him better. It just means the lowest common denominator watches him, which, in my opinion, means nothing.

Why don't you post a current article rather than an outdated one?
For a current article that does not support you, see, as an example:
Further, there are also articles out there in the last couple days that suggest if Conan was losing NBC money, then Leno must be losing even more money, for the following reasons:
1) Leno's ratings and demographics are now worse than Conan's from last year.
2) Leno draws a salary of $15 million more than Conan did.
3) Leno has a bigger staff and higher production costs than Conan did.
Also, you may not be aware, that aside from an anomaly of being nominated once, Leno has been uniformly shunned from the Emmys. Further, you are obviously ignorant of the fact that Conan and his staff regularly received Emmy nominations during his 16 year Late Night run, and in fact received several Emmy Awards. Those knowledgeable were not surprised at all about Conan's Emmy nominations, all four of them this year! Conan received four times more Emmy nominations in seven months at The Tonight Show than Leno has received in his entire 17 years of his first run on The Tonight Show. Conan has four chances to deservedly win on August 29th!

Sorry, but Conan is not funny, He's just plain moronic. He,Jay and letterman will never be on the level as Carlson. Giving Conan and Emmy is like giving Al Gore and Obama a nobel piece prize. VERY DISAPPOINTED IN THE EMMY's

artielange: I just came across this article that states EXACTLY what I have stated here. The figures are all there in black and white.
Conan averaged 2.7 million viewers, Dave 4.1 million and Leno over 5 million.

RG-I still believe Conan did NOT deserve the Emmy nomination; whether, or not, you think his writing was better than Jay's and Dave's. In fact--on several talk shows today, several panelists were 'shocked' Conan received his nomination!!

'artie lange'--before you write another post, please go back to school to learn how to spell!
Leno has consistantly beat Conan and Dave in the ratings game. (That's a written fact) Conan was 'fired' from his 11:35 slot due to non-performance in bringing in new viewers or even increasing the amount of viewers he had at the 12:35 slot. His network came out as announced they were losing money with him and could not give him any more chances at that time slot. I never said Jay 'should receive' (or even be nominated for) an Emmy because he has more viewers. What I was getting across is that Conan didn't deserve a nomination, whether HE put his name in himself (which he did) or whether his network did.

@Jean your a moron who needs some schooling on comedy and the emmy nominations before you should be allowed to post. Conan is a critically applauded comedian with a staff of acclaimed, talented writers who clearly deserve more emmys. If youre suggesting that Leno should get an emmy because he had more viewers than that shows how much of a know-nothing degenerate you are. Leno hasn't ever been nominated for wirting cos his show has always been critically torn apart. And from day 1 Leno had less than 2 million viewers and was getting beaten by Dave for 3 years. And now he is doing far worse in the ratings than Conan was on the Tonight show.

i think the information in this article is false. Conan won his first emmy in the early 2000's, but was nominated sequentially a few years before that. Definitely before 2003, i mean he hosted in 02 and i think he won before that. You also fail to mention that along without winning since '95, Leno hasn't been nominated since. Check your facts before printing Gold Derby.

Jean, the Emmys are based on content and performance. Not how much money networks lose or ratings. Leno has not been nominatetd for best writing during his tenure and only won best variety comedy series because of the Hugh Grant scandal.

Dave MItchell: Where did YOU get your figures??? Jay had at least 2 1/2 times MORE viewers than Conan. Jay has about 5,000,000; while Conan never brought in more than 2,000,000 give or take a few thousand. THAT is why he was canned from the 11:35 slot. Jay has always had more viewers than Conan from Day 1. Jay usually brings in at least 1 million more than Dave each night. Conan's network lost money on him and then handed over another $34,000,000 plus another few million for his staff. They did NOT have to do that. Conan shouldn't be crying..unless it's all the way to the bank--with money he didn't deserve. If you lost money for YOUR company would they reward you with millions????? stating Jay had
'fewer' viewers than Conan is totally wrong. Very wrong.

Ha ha! Good for Conan! Check out this crazy video about what a tool Jay Leno is!

Actually, I prefer Conan. Jay is a BORE. Jay is not getting the ratings he did years ago. In fact, latest ratings numbers say he had equal to or FEWER viewers than Conan got. Leno in fact is pushing the Tonight show further into the red. Leno's salary is 30 million/yr compared to Conan's 15 mil. Plus Leno has had a bigger production staff which is costing NBC more.

Hmmm,David Letterman got snubbed by the Emmy but SNL who hasn`t been funny for years got nominated. I wont be watching the stupid Emmy this year.

I'm hoping Conan wins. Even if just to send out a message to NBC. I would think he would get to accept just to bring home the point.

First off, it's not a popularity contest. All of these nominees are based on content. It is not surprising that Conan is nominated as his "Late Night" was regularly nominated when "The Tonight Show" wasn't. He was performing the same type of show- just a change in title and time slot. Ratings do not equal substance. The Daily Show w/Jon Stewart does not have the audience of Leno or Letterman but it is a consistent winner. I do think that Colbert has the edge this year and is deserving of the nomination and win (even if his Neilsen rating is lower than his regular competition- The Tonight Show w/Leno and Conan and The Late Show w/David Letterman).

Let's face it, we have all loved shows that may not have been high ratings winners- that doesn't mean they weren't good shows. I think this is a solid category- if anything, I would trade out SNL for Craig Ferguson or Letterman.

I don't get it.
No nods for Jimmy Kimmel or Craig Ferguson?? Both were hilarious during the Leno/Conan war. Kimmel for diving right into the fray and Ferguson for staying above it.
Kimmel has the best sketch work of any of the late night hosts, and Ferguson is easily the best interviewer.
I sometimes think that the nominating committee doesn't watch TV.

The people have chosen LENO? Somebody needs to check their facts. Leno may be beating Letterman, but both are losing to Nightline and Leno's ratings are actually lower than Conan's during the same period last year. And guess what? Leno's show costs about $15 million more than Conan's did.

I say good for Conan, and while it's unlikely, I hope he wins that Emmy. Please tell me NBC are broadcasting them this year. :D

Way to go! I hope he wins. It'll show those a$$e$ at Must Puke TV just what a bunch of crooked jerks they really are. As with any shabby business venture, the good ones are let go to prosper elsewhere while they waddle in their filth-laden garbage of a network. Clean up your act NBC, cause NoBodyCare about you anymore.

Conan, NO WAY, deserved a nomination. For what??? Failure??? He did NOTHING for the network after more than 7 months of chances. His viewership did NOT increase at 11:34 pm over his later time. The network was losing money on him-and then paid him $34 mill. for his tears???? YIKES! Where can I get a job like that??? I've cried many times at jobs I had in the past!! LOL
Is Conan patting himself on the back this morning???? He shouldn't be. Oh well...he won't get the win anyway.

Leno has never gotten any love from the "Establishment" That's okay, Conan tanked after he took over the show, falling behind Letterman in the ratings. (you know Letterman was giddy over that). Jay comes back and he is #1 again, much to Letterman's and Conan's chagrin. I am sure Leno sleeps fine at night. The people have choosen him.

Awesome. Go Coco!!

So, does that mean if Conan wins in his category HE GETS TO PICK UP THE EMMY or do the slugs, Jeff Zucker and Evil Dick Ebersole, get that honor? If it is the slugs then I hope Conan does win but if Conan gets to get up on the stage and accept the Emmy then I hope he goes all the way. Leno is fading fast and seeing his true self through the mess find I can no longer watch him. Letterman is not worth wasting a minute of my time.



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