Posts Tagged ‘Conan O’Brien’

Monday Medley

What we read while the Emmys honored Jeff Daniels sarcastically…

Monday Medley

What we read while scoring on Hope Solo…

The War for Late Night: Smiling Politely Towards Disaster

Anyone who picks up Bill Carter’s new book about last January’s late night TV debacle—The War for Late Night: When Leno Went Early and Television Went Crazy—looking for a villain is destined to be disappointed. This is not for lack of effort. The book is impressively comprehensive about NBC’s decision to move Jay Leno from The Tonight Show to primetime and back again and the disaster that followed. Carter gives detailed histories of and various perspectives on all the major players involved—Leno, Conan, Jeff Zucker, David Letterman, Jeff Gaspin, etc.—but in the end nobody comes off as an evil monster responsible for the train wreck. Instead, we get a fascinating example of how a bunch of people all acting with the best intentions can lead to the worst possible outcome.

“If they’d come in and shot everybody—I mean, it would have been people murdered. But at least it would have been a two-day story. I mean, yes, NBC could not have handled it worse, from 2004 onward.” —Jay Leno Continue reading

The Return of Conan


If you haven’t been paying attention to this blog for the last 11 months, then you may not have realized that I was looking forward to last night’s premiere of Conan on TBS. I haven’t even minded all the commercials and the endless promotion during the baseball playoffs.

The main reason for the excitement wasn’t just that a great comedian was returning to television, but that the return represented a chance to finally move on. Conan O’Brien has been active since he lost The Tonight Show to Jay Leno in January: He got a new job, he went on a live tour, he grew a beard, he appeared on 60 Minutes, and he even got on Twitter. What has been frustrating, though, is that the most common subject in his comedy during this interregnum has been Conan himself—namely his departure from NBC and his new job on TBS.

Back in January, when The Tonight Show essentially became about its own future, it was refreshing to see an unleashed Conan mercilessly go after his own bosses at NBC. Unlike Jay Leno, who played dumb during the whole process, Conan wasn’t afraid to be honest and hilariously vicious. Unlike Jimmy Kimmel, who had nothing to lose by being vicious, and David Letterman, who played the role of elder statesman throughout, Conan’s attacks were also endearingly honest and personal, since he was going through the ordeal himself and had something to lose by attacking his employer. Continue reading

Monday Medley

What we read on our 48-hour sabbatical from MSNBC…

Monday Medley

What we read while deciding not to publish our own story about not having sex with Christine O’Donnell…

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  • Speaking of statistical analysis, the Mets hired sabermetrics-advocate Sandy Alderson as their new General Manager this week. Here is an extensive (and excellent) interview of Alderson back when he was CEO of the Padres. Rumor has it that he’s going to bring along Paul DePodesta to the front office, who was prominent in Moneyball (a book we’ve invoked a few times so far), and has his own blog.

Monday Medley

What we read while waiting for the first Chilean miner book…

  • A real-life version of Hans Moleman presents, “Man Getting Hit by Football.” Starring Brett Favre.

Top Ten Things To Be Excited About In The Fall TV Season

As I noted one year ago today, I get more excited than most people by the start of a new television season. While Louie, Mad Men, and Pretty Little Liars have done a decent job of satisfying my TV-fix over the summer, I’m ready for a full slate of new shows. Of course, some of these will disappoint: My list from 2009 included such letdowns as FlashForward, Bored to Death, and the most recent seasons of How I Met Your Mother and The Hills. At the same time, though, shows I hadn’t expected to like, like Modern Family and Parks and Recreation, made up for it with great seasons. So even though this list will probably look equally stupid a year from now, here are the 10 things I’m most excited about this fall on TV:

10. The Event Premieres Monday September 20 on NBC

Now, I know this show is probably not going to be good. It seems like a show constructed around a marketing premise (“What is the event?”) and cribbing from the likes of 24 and Lost. Basically, it’s this year’s FlashForward. As with all of these shows, there is a very low probability of success—but if it does turn out to be good, it could possibly fill the void left by the end of Lost last May.*  Continue reading

Reviewing the 2010 Emmys

FlashForward ended its run with more Emmy nominations and wins than The Wire. That should pretty much destroy any semblance of credibility the Emmys ever had. But other than the Golden Globes (which didn’t do so great themselves this year), there really isn’t another awards show that is taken seriously for television, so we have to deal with Emmys and all of its mistakes.

And while this year certainly had its fair share of mistakes, it was generally better than expected: Continue reading

Monday Medley

What we read while being snookered by Fox News…