Scandal is a pretty harsh word, come to think it about it. Cluster could be a more appropriate term.
While I am not a huge fan of Jay Leno's (he has his moments of funny, but he loses me somewhere along the way), he is in a crappy position. I am a huge fan of Conan's (even though everyone says his is focused purely on potty humor...and it sometimes has that edge, his comedy resonates with me and keeps me coming back to watch) and feel he responded to the masses in a classy, appropriate way.
Jimmy Fallon, while still very green, is developing a fan base all his own. He is extremely talented, and given the right amount of time...he will own the late night line up.
Conan could have, and would have, made the Tonight Show proud. Given the right time, support and lead-in (ie, get the crappy Primetime version of Leno OFF the air)...he would have built his own empire...one that would grow and top the ratings again. Its a different animal than late night and you can't expect him or his brand of comedy to satisfy all Tonight Show fans. If you like Leno, you probably won't love Conan. And vice versa. Common Sense People!
The easiest thing to do here is blame NBC. So that is what I am going to do. They have amassed a veritable force of comedic talent, but somehow have been unable to leverage that into a ratings bonanza. Leno's primetime ratings bust just hurt Conan all the more...and it seems really unfair to the show alltogether. They are essentially giving Conan no other option than to say he won't do it...which is what they apparently want. But put Leno back in the Tonight Show? What a mess. Sigh.