I think what is happening to Conan is brutal. I have been avoiding this because the Pete Carroll saga was taking over too much of my time, but I need to just spout off for a brief moment.
If NBC is not aware that Conan is dominating Jay Leno in every way, they are just not reading the analytics. When was the last time you searched for a Jay Leno clip on YouTube or Hulu? NBC tried to get off cheap by keeping Jay on the air so they didn’t need to make another scripted (and expensive) show each night of the week. They are living in the Nielson ratings (not that Leno has performed well there either of late) and not seeing the point that is so obvious on Facebook, Twitter and the internet in general: Conan is currently a lot more popular, even just in theory.
The problem is, nobody likes the new Leno show. Not the audience, not the local affiliates that have a weak lead in to their newscasts and certainly not Conan, who’s predecessor on the air literally became his predecessor on the schedule. Imagine being Conan, a guy who earned the right to replace Leno, a guy who built a late night audience. Imagine the slap in the face he got when they told him Leno would stay on the air in the first place.
Now don’t get me wrong. As much as I think Jay should have done what Johnny Carson did and gracefully leave the late night scene remembered as a part of our lives we enjoyed, he has every right to be on the air. I mean, NBC hired him and he accepted. Far be it for me to tell you to watch him or not to. I mean, some people like golf on television too. Who am I to judge?
The point is, NBC is dicking around with Conan and it’s bush league. Can you imagine? You finally get hired to replace your boss, you get his office and his salary, then the CEO tells you your old boss is still a consultant. Fine. I’ll deal. At least I got the job. Then, they tell you that your boss is not performing as a consultant, so now he is going to spend the first part of the day doing your job in your office, and when he is done, you can come back and try to improve the situation.
So here is a longtime supporter of NBC telling Conan to leave the peacock, go to the evil empire (FOX) and blow whatever NBC puts on out of the water. In ten years when the internet is properly monitized, Conan will be incredibly lucrative and Jay will be 107 years old counting cars in his warehouse.
For a sports analogy, this is how Laker fans would have felt if they had kept Shaq instead of Kobe. Both are important to the network, both deserve respect, but it is simply Conan’s time. It’s his turn, just like it was Kobe’s. It’s happening right now, we’ll see if NBC has the stones to stop playing games with Conan.
Me? I’ll do what I always do at 11:35 pm. Drink scotch, flip on Food Network, squint and pretend I am watching a Kurosawa film about feudal Japan in the Sengoku Jidai period. Obviously.