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Conan O'Brien can't wreak revenge on Jay Leno at the Emmys

November 9, 2010 |  5:48 pm

Conan o'brien jay leno news

Now that Conan O'Brien has tasted delicious revenge, beating Jay Leno in the Nielsen ratings for the debut of his new TBS late-night show, it's fun to imagine what will happen ahead when they clash over TV's top award.

Next year, heading into the Emmys, Conan might devour Jay's "Tonight Show" for the trophy as best variety series. After all, Conan's version of "Tonight" got nominated last year. Before that, Conan's "Late Night" was included in the contest for five consecutive years (2003-07). In 2003, their shows went head to head, but both lost.  Jay's "Tonight" won the category in 1995, so he's a proven champ.

But let's be honest. Conan has had poor luck at the Emmys overall. His "Late Night" was nominated 29 times in various races, winning only a writing trophy in 2007. Conan shared in that victory and also was part of the "Saturday Night Live" writing team that won in 1989, but otherwise he lost 15 times.

Back in September, it looked like he had an excellent chance to win best variety series considering the shrewd episode sample he gave to Emmy judges: his poignant, hilarious, outrageous finale on "Tonight." It lost to a lame episode of "The Daily Show," which triumphed for an eighth consecutive year. So forget it. That means "The Daily Show" is unbeatable regardless of what  it submits to Emmy voters.

Tom O'Neil

Photo: Conan O'Brien. Credit: Meghan Sinclair / TBS.