In an eloquent, earnest, and characteristically quirky statement addressed to the "People of Earth," Conan O'Brien has announced that he won't host The Tonight Show if NBC pushes it back to 12:05. Touching both on his lifelong devotion to the program--"the greatest franchise in the history of broadcasting"--and his long-running ambition to host it, O'Brien confirms speculation that an NBC shake-up would cause him to leave.

So it has come to this: I cannot express in words how much I enjoy hosting this program and what an enormous personal disappointment it is for me to consider losing it. My staff and I have worked unbelievably hard and we are very proud of our contribution to the legacy of The Tonight Show. But I cannot participate in what I honestly believe is its destruction.
  • Translation: 'See you in Hell, Jerks' Time's James Poniewozik gasps at Conan's statement. "Conan is publicly one of the most even-keeled guys in late-night, but this is quite the thorough smackdown of NBC and how it has badly used him, screwed up its primetime and then screwed up the un-screwing-up." He translates line-by-line, concluding, " agent is now accepting calls. See you in Hell, jerks. Or on Fox."
  • This Began 19 Years Ago  Netroots chairman Adam Bonin recalls the old Leno/Letterman feud of television lore. "Conan quits because NBC destroyed the franchise Allen, Paar, and Carson built. All goes back to choosing Jay over Dave in June 1991."
  • Will Conan Go On Tonight?  Newsweek's Holly Bailey anticipates great things if he does. "Can't wait to see Conan's monologue tonight. Scheduled guest: Tom Brokaw," she wrote. But Twitter user Delrayser is skeptical. "You're assuming he goes on tonight. And that NBC lets him."
  • Conan Can Learn from Palin The Washington Independent David Weigel riffs off Sarah Palin's recent hire as a Fox News contributor. "The good news for Conan: Quitting your job apparently entitles you to a commentator gig at Fox News."
  • NBC Just Like Washington!  Democratic strategist Patrick Ruffini quips, "Today we learn where politics isn't the only place where an ossified establishment just can't let go."