Isn’t it comforting to know, when you might be going through a period in which you can’t do anything right, when everything you touch turns to shit, that you can always look around and find someone or something more lost and confused than you? That touchstone for me right now is legendary TV network NBC.
Unless you have spent the last couple weeks spelunking, you have heard about the whole mess. Last Fall, the Peacock network gave The Tonight Show to the funny, red haired one and moved the tired old man to primetime. Though I think everyone in the free world could envision that a primetime show each and every night with Jay Leno would end up destroying viewership for everything else that aired, NBC thought it knew better. It in fact went into a mode of self-congratulation for its out of the box thinking and cost cutting savvy.
Fast forward four months and NBC has a real debacle on its hand. The Jay Leno show has been mercifully cancelled. But instead of giving Big Chin his walking papers, the next bright idea was to put him on at 10:35 PM (local time) and bump Conan’s program back to 11:05, which on the East Coast actually means The Tonight Show would air the next day.
Well NBC clearly didn’t count on someone having the integrity to put history before their own financial gain. But this is precisely what funnyman Conan O’Brien has done. This week he issued this statement:
Huzzah! So NBC, which has done nothing but bungle this whole situation, beginning six years ago when it promised The Tonight Show to O’Brien, found itself railroaded by a man with a Harvard education. And now, Conan’s people are saying that next week Friday will be his last air date – a mere 7 1/2 months after the first. On so many, many levels, what a shame.
Conan is a class act. I never liked Jay Leno on late night before, and especially after this outrage, I will never make an effort to try. As for me, and many others, it will take a long time to forgive the network. It is almost, but not quite, enough to make me stop watching Community.