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NBC Will Regret Appeasing Leno: Conan was Czechoslovakia of late night TV
Wall Street Journal ^ | JANUARY 24, 2010 | Joe Queenan

Posted on 01/24/2010 11:41:44 PM PST by iowamark

Cultural historians are desperately seeking a precedent to the Jay Leno-Conan O'Brien fiasco. They are looking in the wrong places. True, Pat Sajak, Chevy Chase and Joan Rivers all got axed from late-night talk shows after shockingly brief stints at the helm, but none of them got $32.5 million to take a hike. And none of them got replaced by the person they had replaced. And none of them pouted about getting canned for general incompetence while millions of their countrymen—who had not actually failed at their jobs—were unable to find work.

No, the most appropriate parallel to the debacle that has humiliated NBC took place in central Europe in the late 1930s. It happened at Munich.

Jay Leno, much like Adolf Hitler, is a master of making secret demands for foreign territory and then acting like the wronged party...

Here's where the parallels become even more eerie. In acquiescing to Mr. Leno's sotto voce demands to annex one-half of "The Tonight Show," NBC thought it could put the whole ugly controversy to rest. Wrong. Interpreting generosity as weakness, Mr. Leno began to maneuver for complete control of "The Tonight Show." Here he was again taking his cue from der Fuhrer, manipulating his outgunned adversary into a position so humiliating he literally had no choice but to surrender.

Just as Hitler sought to return Germany to its prewar stature by acquiring Austria and the Sudetenland, Mr. Leno will seek to restore "The Tonight Show" to the mythical stature it enjoyed under his predecessor. Hitler wanted to be thought of as the second coming of Frederick Barbarossa. Mr. Leno wants to be thought of as the second coming of Johnny Carson. Joey Bishop might be more appropriate...

(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Music/Entertainment; TV/Movies
KEYWORDS: conanobrien; humor; jayleno; nbc; satire
Mr. Queenan, a satirist, is the author, most recently, of the memoir "Closing Time" (Viking, 2009).
1 posted on 01/24/2010 11:41:46 PM PST by iowamark
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To: iowamark

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/25/business/media/25conan.html
“O’Brien Undone by His Media-Hopping Fans”

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/tv/la-fi-ct-latenight25-2010jan25,0,879701.story?page=1
“Falling late-night ad prices will shape Conan’s and Leno’s futures”


2 posted on 01/24/2010 11:43:39 PM PST by iowamark
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To: iowamark

Jay sucks!

Conan was great. He was funny and not mean spirited like Letterman.

NBC made a grave error in pushing Conan out.


3 posted on 01/24/2010 11:47:52 PM PST by ncfool (The new USSA - United Socialst States of AmeriKa. Welcome to Obummers world.)
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To: iowamark

If Conan is wise, he’d work for Fox for $1, so NBC will have to fork over the whole kitten-kaboodle.


4 posted on 01/24/2010 11:47:57 PM PST by Onerom99 (I)
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To: iowamark
as long as that jackass Conan never pollutes TV again I don't care what he does!
5 posted on 01/24/2010 11:52:32 PM PST by dalereed
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To: ncfool

He also was screwing with NBC at the end, the song he had Tom Hanks walk out to on his last night was the Beatles song “Lovely Rita” in honor of Tom’s wife Rita Wilson. Cute gesture that cost NBC half a million dollars.
And it also cost them alot of cash when he played the Rolling Stones on another night.


6 posted on 01/25/2010 12:00:06 AM PST by chae (I am karmic retribution)
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To: iowamark

Replace Wanda Sykes, Conan!


7 posted on 01/25/2010 12:00:27 AM PST by ReneeLynn (Socialism is SO yesterday. Fascism, it*s the new black. Mmm Mmm Mmm.)
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To: ncfool

Leno already was the second coming of Carson. He projected the same sort shtick, with some small allowance for changing taste, for example, JAY WALKING as replacement for Carson’s goofball skits. It was really as nearly perfect as anyone could hope for, and NBC ruined everything by replacing Leno with Conan. Of course, you can’t go back, even though they’re trying to.

I’ve always been a Conan fan, BTW, and FWIW, but he just fit better with the conventions of the LATE LATE SHOW concept. LATE vs. LATE LATE sets up some very specific requirements. Whatever the reason may be, they are easily discernible.


8 posted on 01/25/2010 12:02:36 AM PST by dr_lew
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To: iowamark

The fate of the galaxy hangs in the balance of these cosmic decisions about whats his name and the other guy.
How many lives must be shattered before...ahhh....what was the question again?...


9 posted on 01/25/2010 12:07:31 AM PST by count-your-change (You don't have be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: iowamark

I thought Jimmy Kimmel was on ABC. Maybe this guy means Jimmy Fallon. But if he gets that wrong multiple times in his rant, it’s not a typo and that pretty much shoots down any arguments or conclusions he makes if he doesn’t know that difference.

Not that it makes any real difference, as I wouldn’t watch any of them. Who gives a flying F*** about them?


10 posted on 01/25/2010 12:12:28 AM PST by hadit2here ("Most men would rather die than think. Many do." - Bertrand Russell)
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To: ncfool

Conan was definitely 20 times better than Jimmy Fallon.

NBC pushed off the rebroadcast of Fallon and put in Conan.

No doubt his numbers were very low. Leno will give him a boost for awhile, though.


11 posted on 01/25/2010 12:33:55 AM PST by F15Eagle (1 John 5:4-5, 4:15, John 11:25, 14:6, 1 Tim 2:5, John 3:17-18, John 20:31, 1 John 5:13, John 6:69)
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To: hadit2here

You are correct. Kimmel is on ABC. The writer made a major goof.

It would have been funnier if he claimed Leno would jump networks and do takeovers at ABC.


12 posted on 01/25/2010 12:39:32 AM PST by F15Eagle (1 John 5:4-5, 4:15, John 11:25, 14:6, 1 Tim 2:5, John 3:17-18, John 20:31, 1 John 5:13, John 6:69)
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To: ncfool

I still don’t get it, to me, Conan is many things but funny isn’t one of them. Ridiculous is more like it!


13 posted on 01/25/2010 1:31:36 AM PST by SWAMPSNIPER (THE SECOND AMENDMENT, A MATTER OF FACT, NOT A MATTER OF OPINION)
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To: count-your-change

The only thing that strikes me about all of this is how little I care about any of the late-nite bozos.......


14 posted on 01/25/2010 1:32:27 AM PST by Enchante (Mr. Brown Goes to Washington...... kick a@@, take names, and scorch all the bastards, please!)
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To: iowamark

Joking about Hitler is not my cup of tea. This column is trash.


15 posted on 01/25/2010 1:43:33 AM PST by MarkAccord
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To: iowamark

Conan is boring, not funny, and nearly unwatchable. Always has been.


16 posted on 01/25/2010 3:05:24 AM PST by Joe Boucher ((FUBO) Get out of the peoples house and take that shelf ass ugly woman with ya.)
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To: SWAMPSNIPER

Re: “I still don’t get it, to me, Conan is many things but funny isn’t one of them. Ridiculous is more like it!”

**************

Agree — and I hear his “target audience” is 14 - 34. Makes sense since the only people I know who like his show are around 30.

Now I can watch the Tonight Show again — totally quit while the ultra silly, but not funny, Conan was on....


17 posted on 01/25/2010 3:11:03 AM PST by CaliforniaCon
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To: Joe Boucher

Re: “Conan is boring, not funny, and nearly unwatchable. Always has been.”

*********

Agree — If I had to pick from all the hosts, Conan would be last on the list; in fact, I would not even turn on the TV if he were the only one on the air...


18 posted on 01/25/2010 3:16:23 AM PST by CaliforniaCon
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To: dr_lew
Maybe you know? Who was Conan before this. When they announced him as the replacement all I could think of was, "Who"?

BTW, I don't think I have ever watched Conan once. I stopped when Carson left. I have never watched Leno or Letterman either. At least not on purpose.

19 posted on 01/25/2010 4:00:12 AM PST by raybbr
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To: chae
Not to mention the Bugatti Veyron "mouse". He's spending their money with abandon.


20 posted on 01/25/2010 4:13:31 AM PST by FreedomPoster (No Representation without Taxation!)
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To: ReneeLynn

How is that woman considered “funny”? I still haven’t figured that one out.


21 posted on 01/25/2010 4:14:18 AM PST by FreedomPoster (No Representation without Taxation!)
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To: iowamark

What I don’t understand is why Obama isn’t outraged about all the money NBC is throwing around at so few people. Didn’t NBC benefit from the TARP money GE received back when they were bailed out?


22 posted on 01/25/2010 4:52:57 AM PST by Dixie Yooper (Ephesians 6:11)
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To: CaliforniaCon
Agree — If I had to pick from all the hosts, Conan would be last on the list; in fact, I would not even turn on the TV if he were the only one on the air...

Really? I think Conan is hilarious. It's the only late night guy I'd ever bothered to watch.

23 posted on 01/25/2010 4:56:47 AM PST by riri (Resistance-It's the New Black)
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To: FreedomPoster

She’s not. She just bashes Republicans. Maybe Obama watches.


24 posted on 01/25/2010 9:40:55 AM PST by ReneeLynn (Socialism is SO yesterday. Fascism, it*s the new black. Mmm Mmm Mmm.)
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To: dr_lew
Leno already was the second coming of Carson. He projected the same sort shtick, with some small allowance for changing taste, for example, JAY WALKING as replacement for Carson’s goofball skits. It was really as nearly perfect as anyone could hope for, and NBC ruined everything by replacing Leno with Conan. Of course, you can’t go back, even though they’re trying to.

They should just take a cue from the Coca-Cola Company and call it, "Tonight Show Classic."

25 posted on 01/25/2010 9:44:22 AM PST by dfwgator
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To: ncfool

Conan had a brief flirt with being amusing back in the early 90s.... and quickly faded. The only younger guy out there that would bring in crowds would be Stewart but A) you’d have to lure him away from CC, and B) He’d have to transition to making interviews about the interviewee, not so much the sarcastic jab.

I don’t know if he could do B, but if he could, he definitely could take over late night.


26 posted on 01/25/2010 9:45:14 AM PST by HamiltonJay
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To: HamiltonJay
Conan had a brief flirt with being amusing back in the early 90s.... and quickly faded.

That had more to do with Andy Richter, than anything.

27 posted on 01/25/2010 9:46:07 AM PST by dfwgator
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