Y94's Job Offer
Two NDSU students created a new Facebook group on this date a year ago. The group came about as the result of Conan O’Brien’s monologue the night before, in which he mentioned a job offer from Fargo, North Dakota.
The animosity between O’Brien and NBC, his long-time employer, began months earlier. Jay Leno, Tonight Show host since 1992, decided to leave the show to host a self-titled comedy and variety show in 2009. O’Brien, or Coco as he’s affectionately known to fans, took over as host of the Tonight Show in September, fulfilling a childhood dream. But the primetime Jay Leno Show proved unpopular with television audiences, and NBC quickly decided to move the show. Unwilling to lose the popular and lucrative Jay Leno, the network offered him his old late-night time slot. Leno agreed, and it was decided that his show would move to the 11:35 p.m. time slot, and O’Brien’s Tonight Show would begin shortly after midnight. Upon hearing of the move, a surprised O’Brien retorted that he could not agree to host the Tonight Show if it were in fact made into the ‘tomorrow show,’ being aired the next day. At issue, O’Brien claimed, was the “long and rich tradition” of the Tonight Show’s legacy. After a two-week period of dramatic negotiations and open hostilities, NBC announced that O’Brien would be paid $45 million in a buy-out ending his contract with the network.
Facing unemployment, the popular O’Brien was sent a variety of job offers. Fargo music station Y-94 issued a statement on their website offering O’Brien a position as co-host of their Morning Playhouse talk show. On his January 18th show, O’Brien listed several offers to consider once his tenure on the Tonight Show ended. Everyone, including Y-94, was surprised to hear him mention the Fargo job. O’Brien followed the comment, saying, “I could do that.” Two NDSU students, Matt Fellows and Bryce Knaust, believed that he could, in fact, do just that. The students began a Facebook group to recruit O’Brien to Fargo. Within days, the group’s membership jumped to over 8,000 fans. The group’s page asked members to visit the Tonight Show website and vote for O’Brien’s next job. Although the Fargo position won the online contest with 44% of the vote, Coco fans were disappointed after O’Brien ultimately decided on another position.
Dakota Datebook written by Jayme L. Job