Conan Finally Gets Swagger, Brings Smack on Way Out
By Joe Bodolai (c) 2010 All rights reserved
Curiously, The Jay Leno Show didn’t air Friday night. Instead, here in LA, we got “Ten Crimes Caught on Tape”, an ironic other “Ten at Ten.” The show used only two more old internet videos than Jay did on Thursday night. Jay, have you thought of TruTV? Do not bring that crap to The Tonight Show. Steve Allen, Jack Paar, and Johnny Carson actually created television history, not recycled it.
David Letterman continued his gleeful yet cheap schadenfreude weak comedy about “Big Jaw” Leno that he has been waiting 16 years for. Top Ten signs you should retire? You still do Top Ten lists.
And Conan went out with glee too. And genuine love. He showed that the crucible of the “late night wars” have steeled him into a new late night manhost. His comedy has taken a leap of confidence that the last twenty years have promised and this week blossomed. Conan’s swagger is finally real, and not just the posing and then twitching of the guy who is too scared to ask the Homecoming Queen to dance. Now if he can only get rid of the nervous fake overlaugh with guests…
It paid off in the ratings. Say something with a point of view and people care. Conan’s numbers in the 18-49 overnights TRIPLED Letterman’s this week, garnering a 2.6 to Dave’s 0.9, who was also beaten by Jimmy Fallon, by the way, auguring the future. NBC, this is how it could have been. NBC once had confidence in creativity and talent and showed patience with slow-starting shows such as ”Cheers“ and ”Seinfeld“. That kinda worked out, didn’t it?
UPDATE: Conan’s final show Friday night actually hit a 4.8 in the overnights in the 18-49 demographic, one of the largest numbers ever for a late night show and higher than most of NBC’s prime time shows!
By the way, Conan is not automatically going to FOX because of their late-night affiliate deals. (I’ve tried.) They might want to change their network structure to get Conan. He’ll be back better than ever, but I’ll explain later the challenges FOX faces in late night.
Late night has more promise and talent now than in years. Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Chelsea Handler, Jimmy Fallon, and Craig Ferguson are all more entertaining and water-cooler worthy than the same old same old of Dave and Jay. Let’s time-shift late night and set your DVRs on fun. 11:30 is now, in the words of Trotsky, “consigned to the dustbin of history”.
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