Tuesday, June 02, 2009

First Thoughts on Conan's Tonight Show debut

I was really looking forward to seeing what Conan O'Brien would do with The Tonight Show and had high expectations.

Let me tell you, I was not disappointed.

It feels like the same show Conan was doing in New York. And you know what... that is a good thing. I mean, the show has the same music, the same band and the same spirit and energy that it had an hour later for so many years. For some people, that may be disappointing, but to me, that is exactly what the doctor ordered. It was a breath of fresh air for NBC, and the ratings seem to indicate that as well, though I expect them to slowly decline to a more tenable level in the coming weeks.

And while I always wished that Andy Richter had greater success away from Conan O'Brien, it is great seeing the two of them work together again.

Not to mention that for a first guest, I don't think they could have done better than Will Ferrell, as not only does he have something to promote, but Conan and Will have a long comedic history together as host and guest respectively. And there were some good burns on Ferrell's part about the impending failure of the show, which was a great contrast to how Leno's tenure at 11:35 started with Billy Crystal singing to the show's success.

I think the thing that has me most excited is there is actually some money in their budget, so they can do more elaborate costumes, sketches and effects, so it should be fun seeing what they can come up with. It should also be interesting to see two self-deprecating, semi-silly hosts battle for the network demographic (because a Dave vs. Conan fight has some really good angles to it). They may both up the ante in a battle, which means that the viewers win.


Razor said...

I know it may sound odd, but the only difference I really notice between Late Night and the Tonight Show is how BIG the show feels. That set is ginormous and really gives the show an aura that is indescribable. Not to mention that it looks absolutely gorgeous... even though the format's been around for years, I feel like this is the first show that was tailor made to be in High Def.

MC said...

I think being the flagship show of NBC's late night aspirations means they have to try a little harder to bring something to the party that no one else is. I wouldn't be surprised if that was a consideration.

RosieRed23 said...

Great point about Conan vs. Dave, I hadn't thought about that at all.

MC said...

It is one of those weird situations, as Dave could have had the Tonight Show if he had taken a certain deal after Jay had taken over... so it is basically a television conflict that was set in motion when Letterman left NBC for CBS, allowing Conan to take his place and then get the Tonight Show after 17 years.