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Late Show with Conan O'Brien premieres by Gerry Shannon

Author says: what if Conan O Brien never became the (temporary) host of The Tonight Show from 2009 - 10? muses Gerry Shannon. Please note that the opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of the author(s).

On September 28th, 2009:

on this day the first edition of late night talk show Late Show with Conan O'Brien debuted on CBS. It becomes a note-worthy media event for several reasons; particularly that comedian O'Brien will go head-to-head in the ratings with The Tonight Show with Jay Leno over on NBC at 11:30PM, whom O'Brien used to follow on the same network with his first show, Late Night with Conan O Brien, at 12:30AM.

Also, the rivalry will seem especially heated given the rumoured reasons behind O'Brien's leaving the NBC network, with whom he had been in employment of for nearly two decades following a writing stint on comedy sketch show Saturday Night Live and later his first talk show.

Late Show with Conan O Brien premieres by Gerry ShannonIn 2004, Jay Leno had reportedly been offered the chance to leave the network and give O'Brien his job as host of The Tonight Show when the latter's contract ran out on Late Night. However, Leno, host of The Tonight Show since 1993, refused citing his success in the ratings. After much internal debate, the NBC brass caved to Leno and O'Brien served out the remainder of his contract, wrapping up the final edition of Late Night in June 2008.

O'Brien instantly brought a unique formula to the Late Show from early in it's run, bringing with him his former sidekick, comedian Andy Richter, along with drummer Max Weinberg and the rest of his band comprising 'The Max Weinberg Seven'. The contract stipulations of leaving his former network also forced his production team to re-name several of O'Brien's old NBC-owned characters and sketches. Thus, the Masturbating Bear became the Self-Pleasuring Panda, and the Pimpbot 5000 became Robo-Pimp, not to mention "In the Year 2000" was merely adjusted to the present year, i.e. "In the Year 2009".

Of course, O'Brien will have tough shoes to fill, taking over the show given to him by former host and television legend David Letterman. Letterman faced a difficult time in his personal life these last few months, having been the subject of an extortion attempt by an opportunistic TV producer that Letterman was having an affair with one of his interns on the Late Show. Deciding not to have his family be subjected to such scrutiny, Letterman resigned as host, ending a successful 16 year-reign on CBS.

The new show is a co-production between Letterman's company Worldwide Pants and O'Brien's own production firm, Conaco.

Author says in 2009, Conan O Brien replaced Jay Leno as the host of The Tonight Show on NBC. However, given his lack of success in the ratings, NBC re-negotiated O'Brien's contract and brought Leno back in a high-publicised series of events in 2010. Letterman, was the victim of an extortion attempt, which he revealed to viewers on the 1st October 2009 edition of his CBS show, "Late Show with David Letterman". To view guest historian's comments on this post please visit the Today in Alternate History web site.

Other Stories by Gerry Shannon

Irish Ambassador Kennedy Oswald Survives Godfather Part IV

Gerry Shannon, Guest Historian of Today in Alternate History, a Daily Updating Blog of Important Events In History That Never Occurred Today. Follow us on Facebook, Myspace and Twitter.

Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility. Possibilities such as America becoming a Marxist superpower, aliens influencing human history in the 18th century and Teddy Roosevelt winning his 3rd term as president abound in this interesting fictional blog.


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