Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC Universal Sports, is taking sides in the Jay vs. Conan donnybrook that has produced far more interesting news than anything the pair did in the previous seven months.
Ebersol, considered a sports programming genius in his own right, ripped Conan O'Brien, essentially
saying he's to blame for NBC's late-night mess.
Ebersol told the New York Times that "what
this is really all about is an astounding failure by Conan."
According to Ebersol, O'Brien refused to accept any advice on how to improve his Late
Night show -- and the result was lower
ratings than expected.
Ebersol met with O'Brien three weeks before the orange-haired host took over at the Tonight Show desk and urged him to expand his
comedic appeal. "I like Conan enormously personally," Ebersol told the Times.
"He was just stubborn about not being willing to broaden the appeal of his
As far as jokes made this week
by O'Brien about Leno, Ebersol said it was "chicken-hearted and
gutless to blame a guy you couldn't beat in the ratings."