In the battle over NBC's late-night lineup, the Roots' ?uestlove is siding with Team Conan. "We were with Conan's entire staff for two months before they uprooted their lives and relocated from New York to L.A.," says the drummer, who presides over the house band on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, hosted by Conan's successor. "We saw them cry and leave their families."
The events of the last week — NBC's decision to reinstate Jay Leno to an 11:35 p.m. nightly time slot and bump O'Brien's Tonight gig to 12:05 a.m. — surprised ?uestlove, who's sat on Fallon's stage since the show's debut last March. "If a firing squad stood before [NBC late-night hosts] Carson Daly, Jimmy Fallon, Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien and said, 'One of you can't be here, I definitely wouldn't have picked O'Brien as the one to go."
But now that the NBC feud has been raging for a couple of days, does ?uestlove have the inside line? "I get my info from the Huffington Post," he says. "The NBC people make sure not to tell me anything — they're like, 'You're gonna Tweet this in two seconds.' "
Last year, as Leno was on the verge of passing the buck to O'Brien, he told Rolling Stone, "I didn't want to go through the same situation they went through with Letterman. You know, taking over these shows is like czarist Russia. There's too much bloodshed and anger."