Conan O'Brien got his money, Jay Leno got the Tonight Show back, NBC got media-raped, every other late-night talker got free monologues, viewers got better shows from these clowns than they have in years--too bad the Late Night Wars end tonight (for now, anyway). ---
After Conan O'Brien's final Tonight Show wraps tonight, he'll be free agent with plenty of options come September, when he'll be contractually allowed to launch a new Coco show anywhere but NBC. Who's interested? Fox, FX, Comedy Central, HBO, TNT, TBS and even NBC/Universal/Sheinhardt Wig-owned USA (!). Fox seems to be the most popular speculation, only because everyone assumes O'Brien has to go to a broadcast network instead of taking a cable "demotion." Bad idea
Fox affiliates (like Salt Lake City's own Fox 13) do just fine with reruns of Family Guy, Family Guy, Family Guy and the occasional Seinfeld between 10 and midnight; why would they forfeit that easy money to take a chance on this guy? They've already suffered enough with Fox's Wanda Sykes Show on Saturday nights. Seriously, have you seen that shit? It makes the primetime Jay Leno Show look like the old later-night Jay Leno show.
O'Brien should take a pay cut, go to cable and rule the pop-cultural consciousness like Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and even his Late Night successor Jimmy Fallon (much improved, and Internet-savvy) do. Before the NBC clusterfuck, was anyone talking about broadcast late-night? No. Team Coco is viral; O'Brien should be, too--there's been more Conan content online in the past couple of weeks than in his entire career. His younger audience doesn't care where or when he's on--many of 'em probably don't even own TVs. Leave antiquated broadcast and timeslots to Leno, your parents and the mouthbreathers who'll pick right up with him again when he retakes Tonight on March 1. They all deserve each other. They've also soundly rejected O'Brien.
Speaking of viral, here's one of the better explanations of the Late Night Wars, via ABC's Jimmy Kimmel (who's arguably benefited more than anyone from all of this):