Conan the Destroyer?

14Apr10

Conan O’Brien’s move to TBS will spell doom for the late night talk show format as we know it.

So says John Doyle of the Globe and Mail. Doyle says viewers of Letterman and Leno are primarily middle-aged and set in their ways.

They don’t like change and couldn’t adapt when Conan took over The Tonight Show for an ill-fated seven-month run.

TBS, Doyle says, is promising Conan the freedom to “do what he wants.”

Further, Doyle says, Conan’s move to the cable network means that all the late night hosts that matter to young viewers — Conan, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert — will now be on cable networks.

This, Doyle says, is going to drive the final nail in the coffin of the traditional late night talk show format.

Conan wanted to be the new Johnny Carson, Doyle says, but will now be the next Jon Stewart.

I find O’Brien’s decision fascinating. After every sign pointed to him signing with FOX, Conan has jumped out of the network television stratosphere entirely.

Will it be a wise move? I don’t know. I find it a bit hard to believe that TBS, a station known for being run by “tighty whiteys” — we’re talking about a network that censors such light-hearted fare as Dumb and Dumber for its “offensive content” — will allow O’Brien the freedom to truly pursue his work unencumbered.

But, O’Brien is a smart man. I have little doubt he has thought this through.

I just have to wonder how TBS executives will truly react the first time a certain self-pleasuring bear makes an appearance on O’Brien’s show.

Are these people ready to be this “hip” yet?

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