Just to catch you up before the weekend gets here, and you head out the door (or wherever you may be) blissly unaware of what's going on in the late night wars, I wanted to catch you up:  I am now expecting an announcement Monday. 

  This will say:

  a.) The new host of the "Tonight Show" is Jay Leno.

  b.) Conan O'Brien has been released, and will be free to pursue other TV ventures by the fall. 

  This could come tonight, but I doubt it, and I can't imagine why NBC would do this tomorrow - it would land in the Sunday papers, and the news would then drown out all the stories about "The Golden Globes." Announce it Sunday and it'll drown out all the news about the winners on Monday. 

advertisement | advertise on newsday

  So: The logical time to announce this is Monday, even if it is Martin Luther King Day and even if the networks are putatively on holiday. The timing just seems right. Conan then finishes up the week, repeats begin, and Jay returns after the Olympics. 

   The trades this morning and afternoon have confirmed that everything is pretty much done at this point. Interestingly, the story in Variety even suggested that that curious piece in the Times today, quoting Dick Ebersol saying how Conan completely screwed up, completed the breach.