Thursday, January 14, 2010

Team Conan

(or I'm With Coco or Free Conan... any of these titles would be fine.)

I know this has been talked to death, but I wanted to take a few seconds to voice my support for Coco in the Great Late Night Scheduling Debacle of 2010.

I first became aware of Conan O'Brien in high school, when my friend Brigette became obsessed "with Late Night with Conan O'Brien" (it was on WAY too late by my standards at the time to ever watch it). Back then, Conan's show was literally getting renewed by weeks at a time. Who knew if his show would last? But last it did, and as I stayed up later and later, I became a big fan on his brand of comedy.

It's amazing to me that even with YEARS of planning by NBC, they nevertheless managed to completely mishandle the transition from Jay Leno's Tonight Show to Conan's Tonight Show. They apparently learned nothing from the debacle they created when Leno took over for Carson, and Letterman defected for CBS 17 or 18 years ago. I know the corporate suits are probably worn by totally different people now, but they clearly don't care about how bad they make their brand look as long as they get what they want. Leno apparently didn't learn anything either, beyond knowing he can get what he wants. Instead of retiring after the Tonight Show, he accepted hosting this new show that would air to 10pm. His new show is a failure that network affiliates demanded NBC take out of prime time. Instead of retiring at THIS point, Leno will instead RETURN to his Tonight Show perch, knocking Conan off the schedule completely. And Leno is okay with this. I understand it's business, not personal, but Leno needs to let it go. He is not the Favre of Late Night.

It's totally bullshit that NBC would treat Conan this way only 7 months after his version of the Tonight show first aired. It's the failure of the Jay Leno Show which has messed up so much of NBC's primetime schedule, but NBC refuses to let go of Leno, considering his inclusion on the schedule the most essential part of their solution. They would rather move the Tonight Show to after midnight in order to keep each of their late night talk shows in tact. But even that's not really true. That 12:05am start time was always an insult that Conan was going to refuse, so that NBC could effectively force him out and reinstall Jay at 11:35pm. It's totally callous and transparent. Again, it's pretty shameless that Jay is going along with it.

At least Conan has been awesomely and bitterly funny though all of this. Knowing that his show has effectively been cancelled and nothing he can do will stop it, Conan is free to unload all of his resentment at NBC and Leno in a funny way. I will be watching the tonight show regularly until Conan is yanked from the air, and then no longer. I am boycotting as long as Leno is there. This will not be hard for me, since I never thought Leno's take on the Tonight Show was particularly funny anyway. I hope that NBC and Leno are not rewarded for acting in bad faith with higher ratings.

To close, here is a clip of Hitler being totally floored by the news of Conan being let go from the Tonight Show. Even HE thinks it's unfair. That should tell you something, considering the shit he pulled in his day.

Whatever happens, from here on out I'm with you, Coco. All of your fans are with you Public support is in your favor. Have a new show on Fox, work children's birthday parties - whatever it is I'm there. You shall overcome.


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