NBC’s Big Mistake

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Hey gang, I know it’s been a while for me. I still visit The Donk everyday — because where else am I going to get top-notch discussion without all of the ridiculous name-calling — I just haven’t posted in quite some time. For that, I apologize. Although, it’s not like my writing has been missed — there are some really great contributors here (I’m looking at you, Nancy, mw, donar, Frank and The Man himself). Okay, enough chat…

So, I have been following the back-and-forth between NBC, Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien (and every other late-night host) for the past several days. I had a phone conversation with a friend yesterday and together we came to an overwhelming consensus: NBC is stupid.

I am old enough (and fortunate enough) to remember when Johnny Carson hosted The Tonight Show back in the day (which was a Wednesday by the way). Carson hosted the show for what, a billion years? (actually: 30) It seems to me that the host of a long-running show such as TTS eventually becomes the something of a de facto host for a certain generation. Carson was the host for much of the time that my grandparents watched Tonight.

After Johnny retired, Jay Leno took over the reins and sat at the desk for 17 seasons. By my aforementioned ‘de facto host’ rule, Leno has been the host for the Baby Boomers (my parents and folks between the ages of 40 and 65?). Last year, when Leno passed the baton, presumably Conan O’Brien would be the host for my generation (Gen X, Gen Y, Internet, ‘N’, Millenials, et al).

As my friend exclaimed to me over the telephone, “Conan is ‘our’ generation’s Carson or Leno! NBC is losing an opportunity for establishing a long-term brand in Conan O’Brien.” Indeed. I cannot see myself at age 50, sitting on the couch with TPW, and laughing at another ‘Jaywalking’ bit. For my money, ‘In The Year 2000‘ is much more funny.

The National Broadcasting Company is indeed missing an opportunity to carry The Tonight Show franchise to a higher level: the next generation. Add to that this little nugget… the only person who looks good in all of this is Conan O’Brien. Think about that.

1) NBC looks disorganized because they are shuffling hosts around after only a seven-month ‘trial’.

2) Jay Leno looks terrible because — rightly or wrongly — it appears as if he was displeased with his 10 o’clock show and now is turning around and asking for demanding that he get his old show back.

All the while, Conan looks like the proverbial Little Guy on whom the big corporation and big star are picking.

Lastly I’ll just say it: I think Conan is funnier than Leno and Letterman combined (Kimmel definitely has his moments). His nerdy appeal (schtick?) resonantes with me because, well, I’m something of a nerd myself (shocker). Seriously though; what other late-night host would put his show up for sale on Craig’s List:

Yeah. That’s how he rolls.

No matter how this fiasco ends, I’ll be firmly in the column supporting Conan. Here endeth my lesson on late-night-shenanigans. Now we return you to your regularly-scheduled Donklephant programming.