Jeff Zucker, the miserable ass-goblin who runs NBC, the very man responsible for the whole Conan/Leno clusterfuck, is apparently pissed off that Conan’s public statement the other day has turned him into every late night talk show host’s whipping boy and is playing some serious hardball. In short, he’s trying to fuck Conan hard.

Reports Nikki Finke:

To counter O’Brien’s principled public statement which the late night host issued this week, Zucker “is threatening to ice Conan”, according to his reps. “Zucker said, ‘I’ll keep you off the air for 3 1/2 years.’ Which doesn’t have a chance in hell of happening. What I really think Zucker wants is to hold him off the market for at least six months to a year until the dust settles and Leno is secure and Conan is squelched.” One of the reps even compared Zucker to “Darth Vader” because the NBCU chief “has been so evil” about this.

I’ve learned that it has now become clear to O’Brien’s reps that Zucker wants to jettison Conan altogether and put Jay back at The Tonight Show at its usual starting time. So, to prevent O’Brien competing with Leno’s attemps to lure back his late night audience, NBCU’s Zucker has come up with this plot to “ice” Conan for the length of his NBC Tonight Show contract. It’s dastardly, it’s cowardly, and it could be damn effective. But there’s no way Team Conan says it’s going to let that happen. So now it’s open warfare between NBC and O’Brien’s reps.

What the hell does Jeff Zucker have to do to get fired? Just curious. Meanwhile, word on the street is that next week will be the last for Conan as host of the Tonight Show.