The Coco Report: Conan O’Brien Watch 2010 | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
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The Coco Report: Conan O’Brien Watch 2010

I'm With Coco!

Jan 13, 2010 Bookmark and Share

After the ratings disaster that was Jay Leno's move to 10 pm, NBC is looking to give him back his 11:30 time slot-moving Conan O'Brien's Tonight Show to 12:05 am.  

In response to the proposed shift, O'Brien released the following gracious statement (Via Variety):

"People of Earth:

In the last few days, I've been getting a lot of sympathy calls, and I want to start by making it clear that no one should waste a second feeling sorry for me. For 17 years, I've been getting paid to do what I love most and, in a world with real problems, I've been absurdly lucky. That said, I've been suddenly put in a very public predicament and my bosses are demanding an immediate decision.

Six years ago, I signed a contract with NBC to take over The Tonight Show in June of 2009. Like a lot of us, I grew up watching Johnny Carson every night and the chance to one day sit in that chair has meant everything to me. I worked long and hard to get that opportunity, passed up far more lucrative offers, and since 2004 I have spent literally hundreds of hours thinking of ways to extend the franchise long into the future. It was my mistaken belief that, like my predecessor, I would have the benefit of some time and, just as important, some degree of ratings support from the prime-time schedule. Building a lasting audience at 11:30 is impossible without both.

But sadly, we were never given that chance. After only seven months, with my Tonight Show in its infancy, NBC has decided to react to their terrible difficulties in prime-time by making a change in their long-established late night schedule.

Last Thursday, NBC executives told me they intended to move the Tonight Show to 12:05 to accommodate the Jay Leno Show at 11:35. For 60 years the Tonight Show has aired immediately following the late local news. I sincerely believe that delaying the Tonight Show into the next day to accommodate another comedy program will seriously damage what I consider to be the greatest franchise in the history of broadcasting. The Tonight Show at 12:05 simply isn't the Tonight Show. Also, if I accept this move I will be knocking the Late Night show, which I inherited from David Letterman and passed on to Jimmy Fallon, out of its long-held time slot. That would hurt the other NBC franchise that I love, and it would be unfair to Jimmy.

So it has come to this: I cannot express in words how much I enjoy hosting this program and what an enormous personal disappointment it is for me to consider losing it. My staff and I have worked unbelievably hard and we are very proud of our contribution to the legacy of The Tonight Show. But I cannot participate in what I honestly believe is its destruction. Some people will make the argument that with DVRs and the Internet a time slot doesn't matter. But with the Tonight Show, I believe nothing could matter more.

There has been speculation about my going to another network but, to set the record straight, I currently have no other offer and honestly have no idea what happens next. My hope is that NBC and I can resolve this quickly so that my staff, crew, and I can do a show we can be proud of, for a company that values our work.

Have a great day and, for the record, I am truly sorry about my hair; it's always been that way.



However, O'Brien is not about to go quietly into the night. (Or early morning as the case may be.) Taking the fight to the streets the potential switch up has been the topic of several sketches and monologues.  




His late-night colleagues have been quick to jump to his defense. On his show, Jimmy Kimmel went so far as to impersonate Leno for an entire hour, saying, "Hello, my name is Jay Leno. And let it hereby be known - that I'm taking over all the shows in late night. Beginning with this! It's great to be here on ABC. You know what ABC stands for? Always Bump Conan." (via Huffington Post)


On The Tonight Show, Howie Mandel stopped by to play a “special” version of his game show, “Deal or No Deal?” to help Conan determine his next career move.

The Internet too has thrown its support behind the almost-ousted host. An "I'm With Coco" poster (see above) has made the rounds in social networking sights. Designer, LA-based artist Mike Mitchell summed up the feelings of many local fans in a statement to Entertainment Weekly. "It's embarrassing as an Angeleno: We bring Conan all the way here [from New York] and after seven months say 'never mind'?" (via EW)

Indie rocker Ted Leo had also weighted in on the argument, backing the man who's taken a chance with guests such as Grizzly Bear and Andrew Bird, as well as himself. On his website, Leo waxes poetic about his appearance on O'Brien's show, saying "This is a mushy story about how a big and famous late night TV host helped a scrappy cynical punk guy who WANTED to believe, learn to believe (a little bit)." (via Stereogum)

It will be interesting to see if NBC heeds public opinion-or even acknowledges "Team Coco" particularly in light of any rebuttal from "Team Leno." According to Pop Eater, an unnamed source at the network  says that “Jay Leno tell me he is furious with the way NBC has treated him and Conan O'Brien and is considering walking away from the entire mess with his head held high.” One thing’s for certain, if the deal does go though, we’ll be keeping our fingers crossed that “Conando will ride again!”




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