MOBILE USERS: m.isthmus.com
Connect with Isthmus:         Newsletters 
Saturday, November 22, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 35.0° F  Fog
Collapse Photo Bar

Conan addresses "People of Earth"

How can cultural elitists like ourselves put TV in the Culture category? Well, where the hell else is it going to fit?

Conan addresses "People of Earth"

Postby jjoyce » Tue Jan 12, 2010 5:13 pm

People of Earth:

In the last few days, I've been getting a lot of sympathy calls, and I want to start by making it clear that no one should waste a second feeling sorry for me. For 17 years, I've been getting paid to do what I love most and, in a world with real problems, I've been absurdly lucky. That said, I've been suddenly put in a very public predicament and my bosses are demanding an immediate decision.

Six years ago, I signed a contract with NBC to take over The Tonight Show in June of 2009. Like a lot of us, I grew up watching Johnny Carson every night and the chance to one day sit in that chair has meant everything to me. I worked long and hard to get that opportunity, passed up far more lucrative offers, and since 2004 I have spent literally hundreds of hours thinking of ways to extend the franchise long into the future. It was my mistaken belief that, like my predecessor, I would have the benefit of some time and, just as important, some degree of ratings support from the prime-time schedule. Building a lasting audience at 11:30 is impossible without both.

But sadly, we were never given that chance. After only seven months, with my Tonight Show in its infancy, NBC has decided to react to their terrible difficulties in prime-time by making a change in their long-established late night schedule.

Last Thursday, NBC executives told me they intended to move the Tonight Show to 12:05 to accommodate the Jay Leno Show at 11:35. For 60 years the Tonight Show has aired immediately following the late local news. I sincerely believe that delaying the Tonight Show into the next day to accommodate another comedy program will seriously damage what I consider to be the greatest franchise in the history of broadcasting. The Tonight Show at 12:05 simply isn't the Tonight Show. Also, if I accept this move I will be knocking the Late Night show, which I inherited from David Letterman and passed on to Jimmy Fallon, out of its long-held time slot. That would hurt the other NBC franchise that I love, and it would be unfair to Jimmy.

So it has come to this: I cannot express in words how much I enjoy hosting this program and what an enormous personal disappointment it is for me to consider losing it. My staff and I have worked unbelievably hard and we are very proud of our contribution to the legacy of The Tonight Show. But I cannot participate in what I honestly believe is its destruction. Some people will make the argument that with DVRs and the Internet a time slot doesn't matter. But with the Tonight Show, I believe nothing could matter more.

There has been speculation about my going to another network but, to set the record straight, I currently have no other offer and honestly have no idea what happens next. My hope is that NBC and I can resolve this quickly so that my staff, crew, and I can do a show we can be proud of, for a company that values our work.

Have a great day and, for the record, I am truly sorry about my hair; it's always been that way.

Yours,

Conan
jjoyce
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 12168
Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2001 4:48 pm
Location: Madison, WI

Re: Conan addresses "People of Earth"

Postby fisticuffs » Tue Jan 12, 2010 5:21 pm

Yeah this whole thing stinks. Conan's ratings weren't up to Jay levels just yet but he had Jay's train wreck of a crap fest leading him in and it was always going to take a while for those Jay fans to die off and get replaced by a younger audience. I prefer my Conan when he can take more chances though. Maybe on another network or a slightly later time. Let the Leno snooze fest continue I suppose. Stupid NBC.
fisticuffs
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 7849
Joined: Sat Jul 24, 2004 2:49 pm
Location: Slightly outside of Madison

Re: Conan addresses "People of Earth"

Postby Huckleby » Tue Jan 12, 2010 8:12 pm

I find Leno's Show to be a snooze fest, but he draws 5 million viewers. Letterman gets about 4 million, Conan 2.5 million.

What is NBC supposed to do, keep Conan on at the premium time slot to be nice?

All three of these guys are well known fixtures, I don't see any of their numbers moving much relative to each other.

Fisticuffs, I'm not sure Conan will attract 20-year-olds as he himself ages into his 50's. There will be some new kid on the block.

The wittiest of any of them is Craig Fergusson. It's hard for any talk show host to stay entertaining with such overexposure.
Huckleby
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 6950
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2005 5:12 pm
Location: parents' basement

Re: Conan addresses "People of Earth"

Postby Average Joe » Tue Jan 12, 2010 8:19 pm

Huckleby wrote:
What is NBC supposed to do, keep Conan on at the premium time slot to be nice?


How about honoring contractual obligations? If they're not going to let Conan keep the Tonight Show in it's time slot, then they should payout the remainder of his contract and not play time-slot games.
Average Joe
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 1613
Joined: Mon Sep 15, 2008 9:33 am

Re: Conan addresses "People of Earth"

Postby TheBookPolice » Tue Jan 12, 2010 8:27 pm

Two sober truths:

1) NBC has to be the dumbfuckingest network on television. Any network that would keep on renewing Heroes while kneecapping and cancelling Kings doesn't know its ass from a hole in the ground.

2) Craig Ferguson has gone from charmingly unkempt to bizarre and unwatchable. He's hammy, he's twitchy, and he does goofy voices and affectations that a 5th grader might put on. And his fisheye lens monologue is just weird.
TheBookPolice
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 8404
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 1:09 pm
Location: The mystical Far East

Re: Conan addresses "People of Earth"

Postby Huckleby » Tue Jan 12, 2010 8:37 pm

Average Joe wrote: How about honoring contractual obligations? If they're not going to let Conan keep the Tonight Show in it's time slot,


Since you are going legal, evidently the contract does not guarantee a 11:35 time slot.

I know NBC is being hard, but their affiliates are squeezing them. It's all "just business", as they say.

I agree that Conan got screwed. But he got screwed by fate more than NBC orr Leno. It's a competitive world, and Conan is unexpectedly far less competitive than Leno, and Leno is not slowing down.
Huckleby
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 6950
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2005 5:12 pm
Location: parents' basement

Re: Conan addresses "People of Earth"

Postby Average Joe » Tue Jan 12, 2010 8:49 pm

Huckleby wrote:Since you are going legal, evidently the contract does not guarantee a 11:35 time slot.



Do you know this for sure? Regardless, The Tonight Show has been in the same time slot for over 50 years. That ought to give Conan and his lawyers some pretty good punch in court room. For NBC, arguing that The Tonight Show doesn't follow the local evening news will be akin to them arguing that Independence Day doesn't follow July 3rd.
Average Joe
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 1613
Joined: Mon Sep 15, 2008 9:33 am

Re: Conan addresses "People of Earth"

Postby Huckleby » Tue Jan 12, 2010 11:42 pm

Average Joe wrote: The Tonight Show has been in the same time slot for over 50 years. That ought to give Conan and his lawyers some pretty good punch in court room.


Well, God Speed to Conans' attorneys then. But don't hold your breath. I doubt NBC is dumb, at least when it comes to legalities.
Huckleby
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 6950
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2005 5:12 pm
Location: parents' basement

Re: Conan addresses "People of Earth"

Postby Huckleby » Tue Jan 12, 2010 11:50 pm

TheBookPolice wrote: 2) Craig Ferguson has gone from charmingly unkempt to bizarre and unwatchable. He's hammy, he's twitchy, and he does goofy voices and affectations that a 5th grader might put on. And his fisheye lens monologue is just weird.


I agree that Ferguson's monologues are too much. I fast forward through them, I like his interaction with guests.

If you read comments online, people say that Leno, Ferguson, Conan, et.al. are either funny or COMPLETE no-talents. It's obviously just a matter of taste, and there is a distinct market share for all of them. All the strong individual opinions mean nothing.

For what it's worth, I rank in order of creative wit:
1) Ferguson
2) Letterman
3) Conan
4) Jimmy Kimmel
5) Jimmy Falon
6) Jimmy Carter
7) Tyra Banks
8 ) Madame Albright
9) Mike McCarthy
10) A ham sandwich
11 ) Jay Leno
Huckleby
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 6950
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2005 5:12 pm
Location: parents' basement

Re: Conan addresses "People of Earth"

Postby joesmith » Wed Jan 13, 2010 1:24 am

For what it's worth, I rank in order of creative wit:
1) Ferguson
2) Letterman
3) Conan
4) Jimmy Kimmel
5) Jimmy Falon
6) Jimmy Carter
7) Tyra Banks
8 ) Madame Albright
9) Mike McCarthy
10) A ham sandwich
11 ) Jay Leno


Does the sammy have mayo or not?
joesmith
Member
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2010 1:15 am

Re: Conan addresses "People of Earth"

Postby boston_jeff » Wed Jan 13, 2010 9:34 am

Conan is getting screwed period. The affiliates are pissed at NBC because Leno's show got bad numbers and has been a terrible lead-in to the local news broadcasts, not because they want Leno to replace Conan at 11:35. Leno's ratings in the first year of the Tonight Show were abysmal and he was allowed plenty of time to allow the audience to adjust. Conan should be given the same leeway as Jay was when he replaced Johnny. The sad thing about this is that Johnny never wanted Jay to take over his show and Letterman got screwed in the process. Now a guy who gets it and is respectful of the tradition is getting screwed again by the same guy and the network. I hope NBC wakes up and realizes how lucky they are to have Conan. He's funny, he's topical and he's just the right amount of quirky. Leno is warmed over bland that never matched up to the antics of Carson, Letterman or Conan.

If NBC wants a PR mess and a huge legal battle, its on I'm sure. What a bunch of morons. Seems like industry people are on Conan's side in this, that's whats great to see:
http://www.boston.com/ae/tv/blog/2010/01/kimmel.html
boston_jeff
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 2603
Joined: Tue Feb 13, 2007 12:41 pm
Location: Near East

Re: Conan addresses "People of Earth"

Postby Huckleby » Wed Jan 13, 2010 10:17 am

boston_jeff wrote:Conan is getting screwed period. The affiliates are pissed at NBC because Leno's show got bad numbers and has been a terrible lead-in to the local news broadcasts


OK, Leno is getting poor numbers for the purposes of a 10 PM show, but he is still getting 5 million viewers, just as projected before they made the switch. It's not like Leno is tanking, the strategy was flawed. For perspective, Conan only gets 2.5 million

boston_jeff wrote: Leno's ratings in the first year of the Tonight Show were abysmal and he was allowed plenty of time to allow the audience to adjust. Conan should be given the same leeway as Jay was when he replaced Johnny.


Oh come on. Conan's time slot moved an hour, but he's been doing the same show for 10 years. The public knows perfectly well what he is about, and people either like him or they don't.

Leno probably did suck in his very first, although not as bad as Conan sucked in his first year. I was amazed that Conan was able to stay on the air, but he sure did get his act together. In any event, Conan has already had his year of sucking.

boston_jeff wrote: The sad thing about this is that Johnny never wanted Jay to take over his show and Letterman got screwed in the process.


NOBODY got screwed. NBC accurately projected that Leno would have better ratings than Lettermam.

boston_jeff wrote:I hope NBC wakes up and realizes how lucky they are to have Conan. He's funny, he's topical and he's just the right amount of quirky. Leno is warmed over bland that never matched up to the antics of Carson, Letterman or Conan.

I agree with you, but a lot of people find Conan to be juvenile and trite.

The theory that Conan's market share is going to grow as more young people come up is BS. Conan is nearly 50, only his hairdresser knows for sure. Conan only splits the young viewers with Letterman, that isn't going to change. Someday soon a talented 20-something will come along, it's about time.

Letterman, Leno and Conan are fixtures, they are what they are, and their relative market shares are likely to stay about the same for many years to come.
Huckleby
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 6950
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2005 5:12 pm
Location: parents' basement

Re: Conan addresses "People of Earth"

Postby Huckleby » Wed Jan 13, 2010 10:22 am

I have the solution: give Russell Brand a late night show.
Huckleby
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 6950
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2005 5:12 pm
Location: parents' basement

Re: Conan addresses "People of Earth"

Postby boston_jeff » Wed Jan 13, 2010 11:38 am

If you think Jay sucked less than Conan at any point in his career on late night TV, then you are a moron and I can't argue with you.
boston_jeff
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 2603
Joined: Tue Feb 13, 2007 12:41 pm
Location: Near East

Re: Conan addresses "People of Earth"

Postby chainsawcurtis » Wed Jan 13, 2010 12:37 pm

"People of Earth" - I feel bad for anyone who doesn't get that kind of humor. O'Brien is a direct spawn of Letterman and even more so Steve Allen. Left to grow I have no doubt that Conan would have gone on to mature into a better interviewer and drier wit just like Dave did and preserved the Tonight Show legacy.

Conan should take an offer from Fox and go head to head at 11:35 with Jay and Dave. He could call it "Tonight with Conan O'Brien." That way while he will be competing with the other late night franchise - Nightline - but he won't be directly up against John Stewart or the often hilarious and under the radar Jimmy Kimmel.

Has anybody noticed that last night Kimmel did his whole show as Jay Leno? Fake chin, gray hair, lisp. Even the band was doing a direct parody of Kevin Eubanks. It was outstanding!
chainsawcurtis
Forum Addict
 
Posts: 331
Joined: Fri May 20, 2005 2:30 pm
Location: Toetown, WI

Next

Return to TV

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

moviesmusiceats
Select a Movie
Select a Theater


commentsViewedForum
  ISTHMUS FLICKR
Created with flickr badge.

Promotions Contact us Privacy Policy Jobs Newsletters RSS
Collapse Photo Bar