NBC has drawn the long knives and dispatched NBC Sports titan and former late-night guru Dick Ebersol—who produced Saturday Night Live during the Joe Piscipo years—to strike back at Conan O'Brien in a New York Times interview.

Angry that O'Brien has been making fun of his pals Jay Leno and Jeff Zucker, Ebersol—in a clearly strategic move on the part of NBC— told the dean of the late-night TV reporters Bill Carter that he thought O'Brien's Leno jokes were "chicken-hearted and gutless to blame a guy you couldn't beat in the ratings" and that NBC "bet on the wrong guy." Class acts, these NBC executives. In a historical footnote, back when it was Dave Letterman who was fighting with NBC and Jay Leno, Ebersol was identified as one of Letterman's biggest allies at the network who loudly pressed the case to give Letterman The Tonight Show, according to Times reporter Bill Carter's book The Late Shift.