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Conan O'Brien said Tuesday afternoon he won't do the "Tonight Show" at the proposed 12:05 time.
Hours after flatly refusing to move to a new time slot, "Tonight Show" host Conan O’Brien used his monologue to dig his heels in while poking fun at his career options.
"My name is Conan O’Brien and I may soon be available for children’s parties," O’Brien said Tuesday night after first calling for his audience to stop applauding because "I may not have that much time."
"Welcome to NBC where our new slogan is ‘no longer just screwing up prime-time,'" he said.
The quips underscored O'Brien's resolve not to go along with NBC's plan to move the program once hosted by Johnny Carson to 12:05 a.m. to make way for Jay Leno, whose show would move from 10 p.m. to 11:35 p.m. beginning next month. The shakeup would end the network's controversial effort to fill the prime time slot and local news lead-in with Leno.
O'Brien, who earlier in the day had issued a statement saying the move would damage the landmark show's legacy, joked that as a youngster he used to watch Carson and think "someday I’m going to host that show for seven months."
O’Brien then reprised a Monday gag by inviting “Deal or No Deal” host Howie Mandel and a bevy of models holding suitcases to reveal more career “options.”
Among O’Brien’s choices:
Earlier, Leno joked about the late-night shuffle on his show. He had to stop his audience from booing after reminding them of NBC's plan, which takes effect Feb. 12.
“That is the exact date the Mayan calendar predicted we would go off the air,” Leno joked.
“I gotta tell you, the folks here at NBC don’t handle these things well,” he added. “They don’t have a lot of tact. After they canceled the show, they told me if I put on 10 pounds I could be on “The Biggest Loser.”
NBC declined to comment on O'Brien's declaration, announced in a press release Tuesday afternoon. Still, the lanky comic held out hope that he can work things out with the network.
"My hope is that NBC and I can resolve this quickly so that my staff, crew, and I can do a show we can be proud of, for a company that values our work," O'Brien said in his statement.
Read Conan's full statement