Saturday, January 23, 2010

RIP Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien

Conan O’ Brien has his head in the right place. He appreciates the life and good fortune he’s had up until now. Maybe he got a raw deal from NBC, but if this whole incident never happened, this underappreciated guy may never have found out how much we all love him.

So many years ago people screamed, “Conan who?” when he took over for David letterman at 12:35. That was the last time the talk show wars heated up and everyone was so focused on Letterman and Leno, O’Brien basically hid under the radar and had time to hone his craft. NBC cut him some slack then, but now NBC is in fourth place, (back then there wasn’t even a fourth place) there’s no time to prove yourself. It’s sink or swim.

Leno in prime time was one of the worst decisions in programming history. TV insiders felt NBC cheapened the time slot and fans of Leno, never had to give Conan a shot. Then people found out about Letterman’s liaisons. His rating went through the roof as everyone wanted to see him talk his way out of it. It seemed that everything was stacked against Conan succeeding.

For me, I was a Conan fan from early on. He’s funny and smart and has a “regular guy” appeal. The seventeen years Jay Leno hosted The Tonight Show, I maybe watched a handful of times. His humor does not gel with me. I don’t like the man on the street stuff where people are flustered, say something dumb and you display it as “look how stupid people are!” It’s odd to me that he has this nice guy image because segments like that are mean-spirited in my opinion.

NBC has bent over backwards to make room for Leno’s return, wasted a 30 million dollar studio and sent a talented guy, who could take them into the new decade, packing. Maybe we’ll never truly know what motivated these seemingly, stupid moves by the network. All Conan do now is look for green pastures. I’ll watch any show he gets and let’s hope he can keep the entire cast and crew intact.

Next week they’ll air repeats until the Winter Olympics begin, then Jay Leno will take his old seat starting March 1st. I will remind you all not to watch. Not even out of curiousity! We have to band together and send NBC a message. I considered boycotting all NBC shows, but I do enjoy the Thursday night lineup. I hope Leno is prepared for the backlash. He has blood on his hands this time, no one is buying his, “The network wouldn’t let me go” B.S. Conan just proved that it possible to walk away.

I guess I’ll go back to The Colbert Report at 11:30pm. Once Conan took over, I started watching the Colbert re-broadcast the following day at 7:30pm. Ah Conan, I will miss the string dance, La Bamba and the funny banter with Andy Richter, but hopefully, I won’t be lonely for long.

We love you Conan. Thanks for a great seven months!

Watch his beautiful farewell speech and try not to cry. A true class act who can appreciate the lucky breaks and good fortune he's received in life. Thanks for the memories Conan.

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