The final episode of The Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien aired on Friday night. Steve Carrell, Tom Hanks, Will Ferrell and Neil Young all appeared on the last show. Click here to watch highlights from the final few shows. In his final monologue Conan said “we have exactly one hour to steal every single item in this studio”.
Highlights of the final show included another “World’s Most Expensive Sketch” to use up the remaining portion of the budget for The Tonight Show, Conan asking what will happen to the almost-new Tonight Show studio he’s leaving behind (“leave the studio cold and empty and rename it the world’s largest metaphor for NBC programming”), Steve Carrell conducting Conan’s NBC “exit interview”, Tom Hanks coming out to greet Conan wearing sunglasses and plying him with alcohol and Will Ferrell’s song to to close the show (with Conan on guitar and Max on the drums).
Conan has been using some expensive music throughout the final week of The Tonight Show and will be sending the bill to NBC to pay for the rights for that – including Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones and Lovely Rita by The Beatles.
Conan’s final speech on The Tonight Show was emotional. He said “every comedian dreams of hosting The Tonight Show and for seven months I got to… I did it my way, with people I love, and I do not regret a second. I’ve had more good fortune than anyone I know and if our next gig is doing a show in a 7-Eleven parking lot we’ll find a way to make it fun… I don’t want to do it in a 7-Eleven parking lot”. There wasn’t one mention of Jay Leno throughout the entire show.
NBC officially confirmed The Tonight Show will return on 1st March with former host Jay Leno. Conan will be able to start a new talk show from September if he wants to – Fox are rumoured to be very interested.
Conan’s final Tonight Show will air on CNBC at 11pm tomorrow night – the usual CNBC 30-minute cutdown version. Reruns of The Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien will air on NBC next week.
NBC – “NBC Announces That Jay Leno Will Return To Host ‘The Tonight Show'”
NBC – “Statement From NBC and Conan O’Brien”
BusinessWeek – “O’Brien thanks fans, NBC on final ‘Tonight’ show”
NY Daily News – “Questlove: Use of Beatles’ ‘Lovely Rita’ on Conan O’Brien’s last ‘Tonight Show’ cost NBC $500k”