Point/Counterpoint: The Tonight Show will fail Conan O'Brien
by John Scott Lewinski, posted Jun 1st 2009 7:31PM
Here comes the response to Mr. Zaino's prediction that Conan O'Brien Irish eyes will smile for a long time to come on NBC's The Tonight Show. It's possible the whole deal could turn into a lament.
- It seems more like The Tonight Show isn't the best marriage for Conan O'Brien, rather than the host being wrong for the show. From SNL to The Simpsons to his own Late Night, O'Brien was a driving force in some of the most cutting edge network comedy of the last 15 years. But, The Tonight Show isn't about "cutting edge." It's about something mildly entertaining to watch before folks tuck into bed. It's a waste of O'Brien's chops -- though you can't blame the guy for knocking down the paycheck.
- Due to lazy NBC programming ideas, O'Brien's popularity could be damaged by his predecessor. No, Jay Leno is in no way out to sabotage his protege. But Leno's upcoming prime time, pre-news lead-in to The Tonight Show seems like overkill. Will audiences want to watch "Leno's old Tonight Show" followed by "O'Brien's new Tonight Show?"
- O'Brien is trapped no matter what new approach he takes to his version of The Tonight Show. If he waters down his edgier Late Night and kills off The Masturbating Bear, he'll be accused of selling out. But, if Pimpbot or Gaseous Wiener shows up at 11:30, he'll seem too bizarre for his new gig.
- While Leno shares in some of the responsibility, O'Brien jumping to The Tonight Show will be blamed for allowing Jimmy Fallon to appear on our TV every single weeknight. It will be difficult for the public to forgive that.
- With people so accustomed to looking at a freakish chin every night for so many years, they will be threatened and frightened away by three-foot hight freakish red hair.