Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Conan Unplugged

Image::  Mike Mitchell/imwithcoco.com

So, it looks like Conan O'Brien is getting sprung from his NBC contract at the tune of $40M and I'm curious what his next steps are.  I jokingly said he should make a pitch to PBS, as I'd love for him to get into a scrum with Charlie Rose.  Fox has been cited as an "option", but I'd be very vary of them, as I've mentioned before.  Plus, if Conan didn't want 30 minutes of Leno as a lead-in, on many a Fox station you'll get Seinfeld or Friends reruns. Others think he should consider an Internet show, which could be an interesting proposition, but probably not it the current format.  The LA Times thinks he should go to cable, as in Comedy Central, albeit at a fraction of what he was making on the Tonight Show.  I don't see these happening, even if the circumstances were optimal, given Conan's trajectory and I think he really wants a mass audience.

I'm not a huge fan of Conan's brand of quirky humour, as I gave it a shot in the '90s.  I find it hit and miss, but I can see how he has a following and many think of the early days of The Simpsons, when he was a writer/producer, as the golden era of that show.  If I were Conan, I'd rethink re-entering the talk show genre.  I look at his show and I don't see him as a stellar interviewer, but I see him as the architect of oddball humour that falls somewhere on a {long} line that includes the cast of The Office {or Parks and Recreation for that matter}, "Jackson Publick", and Sacha Baron Cohen.  Did I say that was a  l o n g line?  That said, I'm thinking of a show on pay cable—maybe not a talk show or maybe a fresh take on the format.  Hint:: There was once a diamond in the rough with Cynthia Stevenson hosting 'My Talk Show' in the fall of 1990.  Whatever it is, showcase the funny, as opposed to being a part of the shilling machine.  Enough of the corporate Hollywood PR machine brimming with film clips and star interviews.  Be a reason that people want to subscribe to a premium channel and feel free to push the boundaries to an R-rating level.  Create a sense of spectacle or occasion.  Leverage the Internet to reach non-subscribers.  And don't wait around for the year 3000.

As for NBC, well, it's funny how Jay went from chopped liver in 2004 to the "go-to" guy in 2010.  NBC execs should be putting this on T-shirts and in ads in Variety, just in case their subtlety went undetected::

"I'm with LENO {for NBC with love}" by Kenneth M. Kambara 19.jan.2010

Done on MacBook 2.2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with Gimp 2.6.4

Twitterversion:: Oh, what will become of ConanO'Brien? ComdyCentrl? Internet? FOX? I say pay cable. Plus,"I'm with LENO"graphic 4 NBC w/♥. http://url.ie/4pau  @Prof_K

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