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“Look, we have a tough situation here…”

Last year, the battle between Conan O’Brien and Jay Leno for NBC Late Night supremacy captivated America. Bill Carter has written a forthcoming book about it, The War for Late Night, and has published a fascinating excerpt at Vanity Fair. My favorite bits are the ones with Jeff Zucker, who apparently retained his sense of dickishness and entitlement, despite having run NBC into the ground:

“Hello, Richard,” a voice said. Jeff Zucker often used the formal first name affectionately when he greeted someone. After inquiring how everyone was doing, he asked, “Well, have you seen tomorrow’s New York Times yet? Let me read you something.” He proceeded to share an update on the Conan situation, already available online, which included a reference to overt interest in Conan from the Fox network, expressed by an unnamed executive, as well as an assertion from a representative of Conan’s that the star had not accepted NBC’s plan and was not likely to anytime in the near future. “Let me explain something to you,” Zucker said. “I want a fucking answer from you. If you think you are going to play me in the press, you’ve got the wrong guy.”