The rumors of Jay Leno's cancellation are greatly exaggerated, NBC said in a statement today. Everything's fine, his talk show gets the ratings they'd expected, etc. Though, doesn't their need to issue a statement imply the opposite? Or not: breathless update below!
As The Daily Beast points out, the tone of the memo wasn't exactly sunny ("we're working to improve the show," essentially). And that big, bad (coughing, dying) NBC bothered to even respond to some random internet rumor at all confirms what we've long known: the show was dead on arrival and NBC knows it and it's all a big mess and oh why can't it be the '90s again? The '90s were perfect!
Breathless Update! TMZ is now reporting that Jay will go back to 11:30, which would leave Conan... well, fucked pretty much. We're not sure we trust TMZ on this one, but imagine if it is true! The Late Shift 2: Chinned and Fabulous.
Further Update: The New York Times' Bill Carter follows up: "while executives said that no final decision has been made, they did not deny that the network is considering moves that could include returning Mr. Leno to his old job as host of The Tonight Show."