If the NBC-produced "Access Hollywood" is to be believed, there’s no doubt that Jay Leno is moving to 11:35 p.m.
"It’s a done deal," the website for the syndicated magazine reported Friday. "Leno is heading back to his ‘Tonight Show’ time of 11:35 PM, Access Hollywood has confirmed."
An NBC spokeswoman would neither confirm nor deny the report when contacted about it by TheWrap.
"Access" executive producer Rob Silverstein is a close pal of top brass of NBCU. The network has been known to use the show to break important NBC news (much as the CBS Corp. empire has close ties to "Entertainment Tonight.")
It would be odd for a site so closely connected to top Peacock brass to report something so flatly without feeling confident about its accuracy. The magazine is produced by NBC’s syndication unit but adheres to the same standards as NBC News.
That said, given the craziness of the last 24 hours, who knows? It’s also possible the article is just more boldly reporting what’s been known for a day — that NBC’s plan is to install Leno at 11:35, with O’Brien at 12:05 a.m.
Or, if one wants to get into conspiracy theories, it could be that someone at NBC is using "Access" to send a message to Team Conan: We’re moving forward with Jay at 11:35, with or without you. Ball’s in your court.
That would seem to close the door on possible compromise solutions, such as Leno at 8 p.m. (always a near impossibility), reduced Leno or some other wacky idea we haven’t imagined that would keep Conan at 11:35.
Expect several more days, if not weeks, of posturing by both camps.