Thursday, January 14, 2010
Yeah, I know EVERYONE seems to be blogging about it. Twitter has seen lots of action with trending topics like "Conan" and "Leno", plus hashtags like #teamconan, #teamcoco and #imwithcoco. Clearly, while it may not be the most important news story in the history of mankind, it's a fairly popular topic of conversation. I'll tell you right now - I'm on Team Conan.
If you aren't quite familiar with what all the fuss is about, you can read all about it on "Everything You Need To Know About The Conan/Leno Drama In One Easy Post".
It's been a wild ride on the late night circuit all-around. Conan hasn't shied away from the drama, and neither have his guests. The Tonight Show With Conan O'Brien has been (in my opinion) consistently funny yet poignant in the wake of this time of uncertainty. From the opening monologues to the closing credits, everyone at the Tonight Show seems to be almost resigned yet unwilling to show weakness.
To be honest, I have ALWAYS disliked Leno. I thought David Letterman would've been the much better replacement for Johnny Carson, but even back then NBC seemed to have a hard-on for Leno. Honestly, I almost wonder if Jay doesn't have some sort of incriminating information on the execs at NBC! Jay has made mention of the whole fiasco, too, apparently. (I simply can't stand him long enough to even suffer through his monologues generally, but for the sake of this blog I went back and watched. I really hope y'all appreciate my pain and suffering!) The Jay Leno Show has been craptacular - and that's not just my opinion, but the opinion of many NBC affiliates, obviously.
There has, in all of this madness, been one time I really enjoyed Jay Leno. That one time was when Jimmy Kimmel Live did an entire show AS Jay Leno (episode 7164). Honestly, it's the first time I've laughed at Leno in years (or maybe ever). Kimmel is slated to be a guest on Leno's show tonight. I may have to have a few drinks so I can sit through Jay's show just to see what happens. Will Jimmy flat out ask Jay "why the hell don't you just retire?" I suppose we'll have to wait and see.
The latest announcement in the shitstorm that NBC has created over their late night programming is NBC's head honcho, Jeff Zucker, has threatened to keep Conan "off the air for 3.5 years".
With this latest development, it seems clear to me that NBC knows it's fucking over Conan O'Brien and doesn't even have the decency to attempt an appearance of professionalism or basic human courtesy. Conan moved not only his wife and children across the country for this opportunity, but also was supported by staff also packing up and moving from NY to CA. I can't speak for you, but I can't really think of a single boss I've ever had that inspired such loyalty that would make me say "hey, I know, let's move thousands of miles from the home I've had for years so I can continue to work with you."
The letter that Conan penned, expressing his love for The Tonight Show, seemed to me to be genuine and heartfelt. I respect the fact that he refuses to go along with shitting on what is, ostensibly, an American institution of television. If Steve Allen, Jack Parr and Johnny Carson are watching all of this drama unfold from Heaven, I have a feeling they are all proud of Conan's determination to honor and respect the history of the show into which they all poured so much of themselves.
Some will say that Jay Leno isn't in any way responsible for all of this madness, that he was pushed out of the Tonight Show before he was ready to leave, etc. To those people I point out the following fact: both in this instance and in the 1992 Letterman situation, there are two commonalities - NBC suits and Jay Leno.
How can ANY entertainer, ANY potential television program creator, ever want to deal with a network that has shown, time and again, that it has no respect for its talent?
If you are on Team Conan, I propose the following: send mail (actual, old-fashioned snail mail) to Jeff Zucker at NBC. Conan is recognizable by his hair, so rather than just sending postcards, I propose we send hair products - pomade, mousse, hair gel, etc. You can get travel sizes if shipping costs are an issue. I propose this because letters and postcards are too easy to simply toss. Packages require manpower to open and sort through. Sound crazy? Hey, tell that to the fans of Jericho who got closure with more episodes by mailing 25 tons of nuts to CBS!