Wow. This is really damn powerful stuff:
"So it has come to this: I cannot express in words how much I enjoy hosting this program and what an enormous personal disappointment it is for me to consider losing it. My staff and I have worked unbelievably hard and we are very proud of our contribution to the legacy of The Tonight Show. But I cannot participate in what I honestly believe is its destruction. Some people will make the argument that with DVRs and the Internet a time slot doesn't matter. But with the Tonight Show, I believe nothing could matter more."
Honestly, Conan's entire letter is the Quote of the Week.
The Huffington Post: Conan Makes Statement: I Will Not Follow Jay Leno at 12:05am/1.12.10
(Update: I said the same thing on Facebook but I'm reprinting it here: Leno has to step aside. Right now it's honestly the only way he can save face. Conan just ruined it for him; he's won the PR war. Conan looks like a victim of NBC no matter what now and Leno looks like the spoiler which means that Leno is tainted in the eyes of the public, even if it's NBC's astonishing incompetence that helped make him that way. If Leno bows out, he'll be remembered fondly and, yes, may have a chance to do something else career-wise if he chooses. If he stays, his legacy will always be pitch black. He'll be the guy who cared more about his own ego than the legend that is The Tonight Show. Conan's class, humor and, most importantly, humility just handed both Leno and NBC a shit sandwich.)
(Update, 7:27pm: Never one to show a little class and dignity and wait until the proverbial body gets cold, NBC is reportedly already in talks to return Jay Leno officially to The Tonight Show now that Conan has announced that he's out. If there's any justice at all in the universe, 30 Rock will be hit by a meteor -- but barring that, I really hope nobody watches this travesty. TMZ: The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, the Sequel/1.12.10)