Last week, after NBC announced plans to move "The Jay Leno Show” to 10:35 p.m. and bump "The Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien” to 11:05 p.m., O’Brien, who rejected NBC’s plan, delivered possibly his most caustic joke of the week. "And I just want to say to the kids out there watching: You can do anything you want in life,” he said during his Wednesday monologue. "Unless Jay Leno wants to do it, too.” All this came as a result of NBC’s plan to a) appease Leno and b) devise a cheap alternative to expensive, hourlong dramas. "The Jay Leno Show” bowed on NBC in September with 17.7 million viewers for the first episode, but the numbers fell fast soon afterward, hovering around 6 million since its second week. NBC’s heavy promotion of Leno never allowed O’Brien to build momentum on "Tonight.” O’Brien started losing regularly to CBS’ "The Late Show With David Letterman.” Meanwhile, local NBC affiliates began grumbling about the low lead-in numbers that local news was receiving from Leno. But Leno has a Rasputin-like hold over the network. NBC has moved the programming equivalent of mountains to make Leno happy. When Leno wanted to stay on the air despite turning over "Tonight” to O’Brien, NBC obliterated five hours of its prime time budget to give him his cheap chuckle hour. That’s K2. When that didn’t work out, they offered to push "Tonight” into the next day in some time zones. That’s Everest. The likely end result is that NBC will be, in the spirit of its ever-increasing love of cheap unscripted television, "The Biggest Loser.” The network might have to pay a large settlement to O’Brien, and even if network executives breathe sighs of relief as Leno is returned to "Tonight,” they will have tarnished the show’s platinum brand, and Leno will forever be seen as having thrown his weight around. "Today” co-host Matt Lauer had better watch himself. Leno might decide that waking up in the morning just isn’t right without a camera trained on him.