Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thoughts on the Late-Night Debacle.

I'm with CoCo.

I'll say that up front. I loved watching Conan over the last decade on Late-Night. His humor was always so casual, self-deprecating, and sarcastic. It made people of my generation feel like we were in on some kind of inside joke... and Conan took some chances with it! I tuned in because I never knew what was going to happen on the show that night.

Well, the Conan that I knew and loved on Late-Night has been back in FULL FORCE on the Tonight Show this week.

(If you're unfamiliar with all the late-night TV drama that's been going on... you're living on the moon. Google it.)

Conan's pending departure from the Tonight Show and NBC has brought out the underdog in him... the prankster... the heroic villain. This is Conan at his best. He talks openly about his battle with NBC, he bashes the network openly, and he's constantly making light of the situation. Last night he even explained how NBC has to pay for anything the show does during it's final few shows, so he spent $1.5 MILLION dollars on a Bugari car, and dressed it up as a mouse... giving it the Rolling Stone's "Satisfaction" as a themesong, with the knowledge that NBC has to pay to license the use of such a massively popular song.

..... and the ratings have been rolling in. Conan has been dominating the late-night ratings the last week or so. You could attribute some of that to the publicity surrounding all the late-night drama, but Leno is involved in this great debacle, and his ratings have not received the same boost. Letterman and Kimmel are turning heads with the stunts and comments they're leveling about the situation, but neither of them have seen ratings boosts either.

Today, the news broke that NBC is paying Conan a severance package of $32 million dollars, and his staff another $12 million.

So, let's get this straight.... NBC spent MILLIONS developing two new shows (Leno's new primetime show, and Conan's Tonight Show), then pays Conan MILLIONS more to leave the network, so they can go back to what they had before, except with Fallon in Conan's old slot. Fallon's great, but he's no Conan. So they've essentially paid millions and millions to DOWNGRADE their lineup.

Plus, they've paid Conan millions to leave, and he will most likely start a new show at some point. That means they paid MILLIONS, downgraded their lineup, and created a new competitor.... all the while making themselves look like the bad guys, and making Conan look like the witty, charming victim.

After all, he never REALLY got a chance at the Tonight Show. When you replace someone, and your predecessor refuses to leave entirely, you haven't really replaced them. People that were used to watching the Tonight Show with Leno simply watched Leno in primetime. They never had an incentive to get to know Conan. I firmly believe that if Conan had been given the years and grace that Leno was given when he started, the mainstream late night audience would have grown more fond of Conan. The Tonight Show would have continued to be the most-watched of the late night shows, like it's been for most of it's 60 years.

It seems to me that NBC has made bad decision after bad decision, and they will most likely suffer for it. Leno's new show was even less interesting than his old one, and I suspect this entire debacle will leave him with an even weaker show. NBC's actions seem like those of a desperate corporation, more comfortable holding on to the past than reaching for the future. It kind of reminds me of the actions I've seen some record labels take recently.

So, with music and television alike, I tend to root for the underdog....

.... and that's why I'm with CoCo.

Jonathan

5 comments:

Markus said...

i'm with you 100%! Leno messes everything up. He stole the show that rightfully belonged to Letterman back when Johnny Carson left and he's stealing the show again now.

I'm with CoCo!

HawkMac101 said...

Coco all the way man! NBC messed up!!! BIG TIME!!!!!!!!!! Im gonna miss Conan...but only for a little while cause we all know he will return!!!!

Morgan said...

I don't really watch Tonight shows very much but out of all of them I prefer Coco! Leno is a retard and has retarded humor that makes me feel as if he think all of America is stupid And Letterman is just about the same but I personally think he's worse! Coco is way better so I'm with you 100% too Jon!

Ida Lou said...

Coco was great!!!!!!!!! Too bad he wasn't on long enough for HN to play on his show.. LOL.

At least NBC still has the office.

duckyjem said...

I firmly believe that if Conan had been given the years and grace that Leno was given when he started, the mainstream late night audience would have grown more fond of Conan.
Nope, I'm very doubtful of that. Very seldom have I ever watched Conan (simply because I do not appreciate his humor) and most people I know feel the same way. But...to each his own, right?

It seems to me that NBC has made bad decision after bad decision, and they will most likely suffer for it.
Yeah, their first bad decision was putting Conan in charge of the Tonight Show. :(