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Conan to 'sell' the 'Tonight Show' on Craigslist

In a dispute with NBC over its wanting to move the show to a slot after midnight, Conan O'Brien jokes that he is selling the show on Craigslist. But the ad appears real.

America has been gripped this week by the battle between two men, each with one portion of his head oversized: Conan O'Brien and Jay Leno.

The baiting and the bile have spilled over into the online world. The "I'm with Coco" Facebook group already has more than 157,000 fans and a lovely icon of O'Brien with which people are adorning their personal, but highly public, profiles.

Friday, I awoke to a Leno fightback. The Huffington Post reports that NBC executive Dick Ebersol described O'Brien as "an astounding failure." He also said his jokes about Leno were "chicken-hearted and gutless."

Perhaps, though, his jokes about the "Tonight Show" show a little more valor. Wednesday evening O'Brien jested that he had put the show up for sale on Craigslist. His jest seemed quite real, as O'Brien, in the clip I have embedded, presented the ad and explained: "You may never get a chance like this again."

I am grateful to the the shivering fingers at Mashable, which seems to have tracked down this actual ad in the Los Angeles section of Craigslist. And if you don't find it ragingly funny, you will, I am sure, at least feel the "raging" part.

The ad is headlined: "4 SALE: BARELY-USED LATE NIGHT TALK SHOW - MAKE ME AN OFFER!!! (Universal Studios)."

Should you be a fan of O'Brien, you will find the text more than a little moving. It begins: "This is a chance of a lifetime to own your very own late night talk show--guaranteed to last for up to seven months!! Really must see to appreciate."

The ad offers some more information for those like Fox who might be interested: "Measures 100' x 100' x 32' - plenty of room for a futon," "Designed for 11:35 but can be easily moved," "Band can be sold separately," and "Buyer must honor Barry Manilow booking next Thursday."

Finally, with all the gusto of a dying man's banter, the seller declares: "MAKE ME YOUR BEST OFFER!!!!! (Also willing to trade for Coldplay tickets.)"

I know there may be some of you out there ready to pull out the trust fund Granny left you in order to buy this show and revive it. Television is a difficult place to make money. There are egos. There are tantrums. There are secrets. It's a little like trying launching an Apple tablet.