by Mark Malek
So unless you go to bed at 8PM (which I wish I did) or you don’t have a television, you have probably heard that Conan O’Brien’s attempt at hosting the coveted 11:30 time slot for NBC’s late night talk show will be short lived. NBC is bumping Conan and going back to Jay Leno. Personally, I used to watch Leno as I was falling asleep and found his skits to be somewhat humorous – Jaywalking, Battle of the Jaywalk Allstars, Headlines, etc. I never really stayed up late enough to watch Conan’s skits, but I am somewhat familiar with them – the talking picture thing, Triumph the Insult Dog (one of my personal favorites), etc.
As you probably know, the NBC late night debacle has been pretty contentious. My personal favorite was during Conan’s monologue a few nights ago when he was noting that hosting the Tonight Show, even for a short period of time, was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. He went on to give some advice to the kids out there – “you can do whatever you want to do… so long as Jay Leno doesn’t want to do it too.”
The drama only got better when NBC told Conan that they are retaining the rights to all of the intellectual property generated by the show. NBC owns the intellectual property and probably learned a lesson from the Dave Letterman debacle years ago. When Dave “left” making room for Jay, he went to CBS and picked right up where he left off, including all the skits he had been doing on NBC. I’ll bet that Conan contracted these rights away, never thinking that he was going to get railroaded by NBC.
Is it a good move? That depends on which side of the table you are sitting on. From Conan’s point of view, of course not – it’s a crappy move that is just another screwing being handed to him by NBC. From NBC’s perspective – it is a great business move. If they do not find a place for Conan on NBC, then they have eliminated, or at least strongly limited, a big competitor. Who is the real loser in this scenario? The fans! If Conan leaves NBC, which seems to be almost a certainty, then you can rest assured that many of those characters and skits will never be seen again. They will be put on some dusty shelf in the NBC dungeon. Here’s the best part – Conan is one of the most brilliant comedic minds of our time. He was a writer for “Saturday Night Live” (back when it was good) and one of the original writers for “The Simpsons” (one of my personal favorites). The folks at Tactical IP wish Conan the very best and hope that he is able to get on with his life after coming to a measly multi-million dollar settlement with NBC.