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August 27, 2015

Microsoft Courted Conan to Plug His Show Into XBox Live

by Danny Gallagher, posted Apr 14th 2010 9:03AM
Conan O'Brien in front of the Mario Bros. backdrop
Conan O'Brien's deal with TBS
may have thrown every TV pundit and pontificator for a loop, but here's one that will make your head spin clear around your neck. (WARNING: TV Squad and its parent companies will not be held responsible for any head and/or neck trauma that may occur while reading this article).

While everyone thought Conan would simply jump to Fox because it was the last remaining network without a strong late night slot, Coco and company were being courted by all sorts of networks and media outlets, including ... Microsoft???

That's right, the technology giant had been talking to Conan about a deal that would have brought his nightly talk show to their XBox Live service.

Deadline Hollywood reported that while all of the reporters and pundits had their eyes on Fox, Conan's team, including executive producer Jeff Ross, WME's Rick Rosen, manager Gavin Palone and attorney Leigh Brecheen were "thinking way outside the box" (no pun intended).

It isn't known just how heavy the discussions got with Microsoft or if they were even close to matching TBS' spectacular deal. However, the very thought of such a deal inspires thoughts of awe-inspiring possibilities, not just for Conan, but for television, as well.

Video game consoles are starting to change how TV watchers get through their daily lives. Netflix is now available on all three of the big consoles, and even though they don't offer their entire library for instant streaming, they do offer quite a number of popular TV titles. Playstation and XBox also offer the chance to download and view shows for a fee, and even though the quality is good, it's still simpler and cheaper to just pay Netflix a monthly fee or to get off your lazy ass and rent or buy it at the local video store.

Both services also offer their own original programming, but most, if not all, of it is centered around gaming and gamers. A Conan O'Brien XBox show could have breathed new life into a slowly growing sector of television broadcasting. Hell, if NBC decided to stretch Jay Leno's show to two hours (don't think it couldn't happen), Jimmy Fallon would fit right in between rounds of "Left 4 Dead 2" and "Castle Crashers."

It also could have completely thrown the entire television spectrum into a completely new ball game. Sure it's only one show, but the amount of publicity and the audience it could draw would have networks, both cable and the big three (four if you count the CW), scrambling to find ways to tap into that market.

Still, it wouldn't have mattered to me if Conan had landed on Fox or Albuquerque Public Access Channel 27. All the statistics and marketing formulas be damned. Personally, I'm just glad Conan's coming back to television.

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Dan H

Was calling it the big 3, big 4 if you include the CW a dig at NBC, or just an oversite of one of NBC, CBS, ABC, or FOX? Funny either way, but I was just curious.

I can't imagine XBox live being a very profitable venue for Conan, but you never know, he could get some kind of deal like Howard Stern got from Sirius. Desperate marketers might overpay to try to get their new technology in the door.

April 14 2010 at 12:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't know why this report is coming out as though it is impossible now. Conan's deal with TBS gives him complete ownership and control of his show. He is simply licensing his show to TBS. Depending on the details of his licensing deal with TBS it is very possible that a deal with Microsoft can still be in the works. If I were Conan I would seek to be on every alternative media source possible. Personally I hope he licenses to Hulu because I don't have cable and watch almost all my shows online through Hulu. Conan has the possibility of doing what Leno and Letterman could never do in longevity if he reads the future trends right and reaches out to this platforms. The younger generations will grow up with him and despite not being on "broadcast TV" he could become bigger than Leno and Letterman put together.

April 14 2010 at 9:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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