No, I can’t help myself. With Conan giving NBC the middle finger and the Second Late Night Talk Show War poised to begin, Conan simply must be liveblogged tonight. I can’t promise I’ll cover the whole thing, but I’ll at least cover the opening monologue. Updates are forthcoming.
10:35 Tom Brokaw is a guest tonight? I might just stick around to see what he has to say on the NBC debacle.
10:36 “I may not have that much time” – he’s getting an early start.
10:36 “My name is Conan O’Brien, and I may soon be available for children’s parties.”
10:37 “Welcome to NBC, where our motto is, ‘We’re not just screwing up prime time.'”
10:38 And now he just turned a Harry Reid joke into an NBC joke. Did Zucker think at all before setting up this train wreck?
10:40 After a few other jokes, he’s back to blasting NBC – fake subtitles superimposed over various dictators (Ahmadinejad, Castro et al) “We love Conan!”
10:42 Howie Mandel? “Let’s Make a Deal”??? Oh brother. Maybe it’ll be funny?
10:44 He’s picked one of six suitcases, now they’re going through the leftovers. What did Conan select? “2 Tickets to See Jay Leno Perform Stand-Up.” Will Jay have Conan on when he takes the Tonight Show over again?
10:46 Commercial break. Thoughts:
- Yeah, I bet Jay will have him on the show. I can just see the gripefest now.
- Pissing these guys off is so much worse than annoying a newscaster. At least Matt Lauer or Brian Williams can’t really bash the network during the course of their network-provided platform. Best of all, NBC has succeeded in burning bridges with all three of their comedy hosts. Well played, Mr. Zucker!
10:50 And he’s back. With a new comedy bit: “Slow News Day.” “Because now is the time to start bringing out the new stuff.”
10:52 And now they’re bringing out one of the writers. Good way of reminding the audience – and the network – that this goes beyond just the guys at the top.
10:54 It also helps that it was a pretty funny bit.
Commercials! I have to again reflect on the situation in which NBC finds itself. There’s really no way the network gets out of this without shelling out some serious dough and some heads rolling.
10:59 And now Tom Brokaw is out. Sharing some good memories of Conan at the office parties! Tom has Conan’s back. And they said Iraq was a quagmire…
11:03 Brokaw is just reminiscing. Conan reminds the audience that Brokaw is closing in on 70. Yawn…
11:04 Commercial break. Will I make it for the entire show? Stick around and find out!
11:10 They’re back. Brokaw’s plugging his new miniseries on (which cable network? can’t remember). And Conan has an opportunity to remind the audience that, hey, he might be unemployed soon too!
11:11 On one hand, the “I’m getting canned soon” shtick will wear thin quickly. On the other hand, who can blame him for sticking it to the network on his way out the door?
11:14 Commercials. I might make it for one more segment – we’ll see.
11:18 And we’re back. Next up: Zachary Levine. Who gives him all sorts of sweet, sweet manlove. “Everybody on the cast of Chuck just thinks you’re the classiest guy, let’s link up wherever you end up…” Yeah, there’s just no way he stays on the show.
11:23 They’ve been going on about gaming. WoW, I guess? Now they’re discussing the origins of “pwned” and “n00b”. And now the practice of teabagging? Yeesh.
11:27 An instructive moment. (Or was that “teachable”?) Conan asked Levine, who appeared in the new Alvin & the Chipmunks movie, about which animated character he played, and Levine’s all, “Um, actually I play a live action character…” Yeah, I’d say show prep was pretty screwed up today.
Okay, I’ve had enough. Suffice it to say the show, and therefore the network, have suffered some substantial damage. I’ll grant that NBC had a challenge on its hands preventing Conan from bolting to another network. But Zucker assumed that keeping both Conan and Jay in the stable was even a feasible proposition. Now, after having trashed the very media institution he had sought to protect, he will likely end up losing Conan anyway.