Conan's next move: 5 theories
With Conan O'Brien on his way out at NBC, experts speculate on where the late-night star might land
With only three shows left in Conan O'Brien's brief tenure as host of NBC's the "Tonight Show," journalists are full of ideas as to where the late night funnyman will take his act:
Comedy Central: "If there were ever a perfect setup for O'Brien," says Patrick Goldstein in the Los Angeles Times, it would be following the "powerhouse double bill of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert." Yes, the audience is "small (by network standards)." But it's also "intensely loyal" and already "primed for his droll, irony-filled comedy routines.""After the NBC late-night bloodbath: What is Conan O'Brien's future?"
Fox: While a deal with Fox is far from given, the network "is doing nothing to quash speculation that they're the most obvious home for the displaced host," says Michael Schneider in Variety. In fact, Fox Entertainment chairman Peter Rice told Variety explicitly that Fox wants to do business with Conan. But regardless of where the comedian goes, the surge in his ratings over the past couple of weeks certainly helps "the host's chances for swiftly landing a new home.""What's next, Conan?"
CBS: I have a "prediction," says Jonathan Storm in The Philadelphia Inquirer. "David Letterman ... signs O'Brien to his Worldwide Pants Production Co." Conan then "takes a long vacation," and Letterman retires "when his contract is up in 2012." CBS then replaces Letterman at 11:35 with Craig Ferguson — "the most appealing of all the late-night personalities" — and puts Conan "into Ferguson's current slot" at 12:35. A move like that would be "win. Win. Win. Win. For Letterman, Ferguson, O'Brien and CBS.""Maybe Conan O'Brien will wind up at CBS"
HBO: If you ask me, Conan needs to "dial it up a few notches on the wildness meter" and take his show to HBO, says David Frommer in Business Insider. Without the censorship constraints of network television, Conan can "dance, curse, sing, make fun of whoever he wants, [and] say whatever he wants." That kind of "freedom might really let him break out of his shell again." Sure, he might make less money and have a "smaller audience" — but an "uncensored and unencumbered" Conan "could be magical." "Conan should take his show to HBO"
Online: Whether Conan likes it or not, his "youthful supporters [don't] crowd around the television at a specific time," says Nick Bilton in The New York Times. "Instead they go to YouTube" and watch clips of their favorite late night hosts. So here's a bit of advice for "Mr. O'Brien": Take a break and pull "the troops back together," then relaunch your show on the internet and stop worrying about old-fashioned stuff like time slots. "What if Conan said, 'Bye, NBC. Hello, Internet?'"
UPDATED March 12, 2010: O'Brien has announced he'll be starring in a travelling stage show know as his "Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television Tour." Click here to read more.
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