LOS ANGELES - In an effort to soothe late-night wounds, NBC today offered Conan O'Brien a role in "Heroes," and Jay Leno a job as "The Office" boss.
NBC/Universal officials are reportedly "jazzed" about the new deals on the table, despite industry watchers' vocal, unanimous, and widely-circulated criticism of the move. "The G.E. suits have their ties so tight they're on the verge of decapitation," said Lewis Louison, blogger at LateNiteTeeVee.com. "Why are they so desperate to destroy their entire line-up?" wrote Jay Johnson at Entertainment Daily.
Spokespeople from O'Brien's, Leno's, and Carell's camps were equally derisive. "This deal doesn't address anything close to what's necessary," wrote O'Brien spokesman Chip McGuffin in the Tonight Show Official Blog. "We can't begin to understand why G.E. is offering us a permanent spot on 'Heroes' rather than the Tonight Show as specified in our contracts." According to inside sources, O'Brien would play a stand-up comic who discovers his jokes have the power to incapacitate people with laughter and would be known as "The Joker."
"Why would I want to take Steve [Carell]'s job in 'The Office'?" wondered Jay Leno at an impromptu press conference this morning. "Do these guys [at NBC/Universal] even watch television? Maybe the first step is to take a look at their own schedule and do what's right."
Meanwhile, staffers at "The Office" were outraged at the suggestion of replacing Carell. "Why don't you guys just leave us out of this? We haven't done anything to you. Our numbers are solid, we're winning awards; try to resist the urge to flush us down the toilet along with everything else you idiots touch."
NBC spokesman Gerry Geraldson, however, was optimistic. "We believe this is a good deal that addresses both stars' concerns. However, if they don't take it, we'll have to go back to the drawing board and come up with something equally lucrative. But we're frankly out of ideas here."