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Conan On ’60 minutes’: Talks Tour, TBS but Not Enough Trash at NBC

By Jason Kasperski, Entertainment Editor, MostMost.Net

Don’t expect any sage wisdom from Conan O’Brien.

His recent appearance on CBS’ ’60 Minutes’ proves that exact point.  He came across spirited but weary, and didn’t particularly say anything new or earth-shattering.  He seems like a nice guy, right?  But then so does Jay Leno, and somehow we have been convinced that he is a master manipulator who took his late night show back after six humiliating months in prime time.

This appearance was supposed to tell us more of what we want to hear: Jay Leno is a jackass and NBC is a bunch of insidious liars. But Conan couldn’t say that. This being show business, both he and NBC signed non-disparagement  agreements so that neither side can say ‘bad things’ about the other. Look, when you see a car crash on the side of the road you want to see who’s being loaded into the ambulance, right? That’s what we really want, we want the bad blood and name calling because, even though Conan walked off with $32 million, he still got royally screwed and everyone knows it.

But, c’mon, really? He now has a new late-night show on TBS that will battle John Stewart and the Comedy Central line up starting at 11:00. His production company also just signed a deal, switching homes from NBC-Universal to Warner Brothers Television. Part of this ’60 Minutes’ interview was to trumpet that, and the other was to make him look like a poor sack that any audience should sympathize with. There is a mighty publicity machine at work here, and they’ve been doing an excellent job with that message all along.

Even though the guy couldn’t hack it in the 11:30 slot, he never admitted failure. I think Conan’s original 12:30 show entitled ‘Late Night With Conan O’Brien’ was clever and witty and fit his personality very well. That show was not ‘The Tonight Show’ however, which is something media critics and the public never understood. That was the show that didn’t work at 11:30.

The fact remains that this was strictly a business decision motivated by money and the displeasure of the NBC network affiliates across the country. In fact, Conan got dissed again by another set of network affiliates at Fox who didn’t want a new show eating into their after-newshour profits. That right there should tell you everything you need to know about the Conan O’Brien business. It doesn’t work on network television.

It reminds me of an old joke David Letterman told in an interview some years ago when they asked him how lucky he felt to be doing his job.  He replied that it made him paranoid and he always worried that someone from the network was going to walk up to him, tap him on the shoulder and tell him it was over, he wasn’t very good at it, and he had to go home.

Well, that actually happened to Conan O’Brien. I wonder when he’ll admit it.

Posted on Sunday, May 2nd, 2010 Both comments and pings are currently closed.

2 Responses to “Conan On ’60 minutes’: Talks Tour, TBS but Not Enough Trash at NBC”

  1. Kevin Hoath says:


  2. Dave G says:

    I saw the 60 Minutes interview last night… aside from seeing Conan’s new beard and super white teeth I’m not sure what the point of the interview was.

    Curious to see what TBS has to say come January 2011.