Monday, January 11, 2010

Free Conan

First things first -- Conan O'Brien is a favorite of many in our family circle, so by no means do we enjoy that Coco is getting the short end of the stick in NBC's reshuffle, but the network's early recognition that their attempt to shoe-horn Leno into prime time was an unmitigated disaster is spectacular news for scripted shows (and therefore great news for actors).

NBC seems to have learned that the television audience does not want to hear about saving money on production costs. Actually, this is something they should have known going in -- you don't slap a sticker on your product that says: Now With Increased Profit Margins!

The big lesson for everyone else is that there really is a bottom of the barrel here -- and given that we're talking about television, that's even more remarkable. A decade ago reality television saved producers' bacon when its rapid expansion as the result of striking actors provided an unexpected bonanza.

NBC tried to make lightning strike twice, hoping that filming a guy in suit chat with celebrities would prove as popular as tribal councils, physical stunts, and skanky nocturnal hook-ups. Again, in retrospect, this might have been foreseeable, but whatever.

The good news is that actors will hopefully claw back five hours or so of vapid programming to help pay their rent.

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