Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Conan's contract

Spent a little time looking around online for details of Conan O'Brien's contract, but to no avail. I'm not interested in financial details -- I want to know the length of the contract. If it's anywhere close to three years, I think the guy's in trouble.

I watched last night's show, but not because it was his first since suffering a concussion on set last week. Rather, I tuned in on accident: flipping channels and hey, there's Conan, talking about his concussion.

He was obviously ill at ease recounting what happened, and actually seemed a little shaken up just watching the replay with an audience there. But he soldiered on and it made for pretty compelling TV, especially his back-and-forth with Andy Richter -- a guy who should be infinitely more popular than he is (see also: Patton Oswalt).

Drew Barrymore was fine -- personable, funny, attractive (and I do want to see her new movie) -- but I left the station during her second segment. I thought, "Dave would really make this interview work." And then I thought, "So why aren't I watching Dave?" Which is what I ended up doing.

Giant corporations are as loath to admit their mistakes as regular folks, but I still think it's possible that we see Jay Leno back on the Tonight Show in a few years. I don't know if enough Americans are going to decide they like Conan enough to make him number one, and it's possible he might be looking at number three some nights. Right now, I have a difficult time believing NBC's bet that a bunch of younger viewers will somehow gravitate back to the network at 11:30 pm -- leaving behind the Internet, Comedy Central, buddies and video games -- is going to pay off.

But at least they have a Plan B. Or a Plan Jay, as the case may be.