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Conan O’Brien‘s refusal to move his time slot in the ongoing drama over NBC’s late-night lineup would carry a lot more weight if he could actually entertain. But when your bona fides consists of essentially losing your network’s 14-year ratings lead over worst-of-the-worst monologuer David Letterman, you have a leverage problem.

Here’s Joe Flint of the L.A. Times on NBC’s plans to move Jay Leno from his dying 10:00 pm slot to a half-hour gig at 11:35, bumping Conan’s “Tonight Show” to midnight:

Talks between O’Brien and NBC are ongoing, with the two sides debating whether the network is voiding his contract by moving the show. Unfortunately for O’Brien, during negotiations for his original deal to host “The Tonight Show” his management apparently forgot to get it in writing that the show’s time slot would always start at 11:35 p.m.

A blog post by ace entertainment reporter Bill Carter on the New York Times‘ site breaks down the impasse created by O’Brien’s refusal to play along with the scheme, citing his belief that the “Tonight Show at 12:05 simply isn’t the Tonight Show.”

The viewpoint of the TV-viewing elite is available right under the Carter item, in a quickly expanding comments section. Test your luck in finding a pro-Leno comment among the bunch. “Conan—-you’re a class act!” pretty much sums up the sentiment.

True, no doubt.

Also true: “Conan—-you’re just not as good as Leno.”

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