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When Conan O'Brien said he'd leave NBC if the network pushed the Tonight Show's start time back a half hour, fans rallied to support him, devising Team Conan tee-shirts and storming online comment sections to praise his class and grace. Conan continued his crusade against the network during his Tuesday night show:

"Welcome to NBC. Where our new slogan is, 'No longer just screwing up prime-time.'"
"When I was a little boy, I remember watching 'The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson' and thinking 'Someday, I'm going to host that show for 7 months.'"
"NBC says they're planning to have the late night situation worked out before the Winter Olympics start. And trust me, when NBC says something - you can take that to the bank!"
"Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is still under fire for remarks he made about President Obama's "blackness." Sources say Reid could face Congressional censure, or even worse, be promised the 'The Tonight Show' at 11:30. I wouldn't wish that on anyone."

Conan later compared NBC to a pimp and the network's late-night lineup to "hos," and laughed as guest Tom Brokaw compared going on the Tonight Show to being a geriatric at an awkward family picnic.

How did O'Brien's NBC-bashing play out in the blogosphere?

  • We're With Coco  Popeater gave O'Brien a positive review, closing its show roundup with the words, "Well played, Conan." E! Online agreed, praising him for taking a page from a fellow late night host's playbook: "As David Letterman once proved to be a good idea, if NBC gives you lemons, squeeze 'em back in the network's face." These sentiments echoed the feelings of the Twitterverse, where users declaring themselves on #teamconan drowned out those on #teamleno.
  • 'One of the Saddest Moments' on Television  Writing for New York Magazine's Vulture blog, Mark Graham saw the pathos in O'Brien's Tuesday night performance, saying the host seemed hurt rather than angry about the position the network put him in. But O'Brien has at least one reason to keep his chin up, Graham points out: "He's winning the PR war by a landslide."
  • He Had It Coming  Gossip powerhouse TMZ had no sympathy for O'Brien, ridiculing him for failing to specify his show's time slot in his contract negotiation. In a post called "Conan's Royal Screw-Up," the site wrote, "If NBC wanted to run the show at 3:00 AM, Conan would have no recourse...shocking, but true."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.