Bye bye CoCo

Jan 242010
Authors: Collegian Editorial Board

Other than people under rocks and those poor, socially defective enginerds, most have at least heard about Conan O’Brien leaving NBC just seven months after taking over the heralded “Tonight Show.”

After about a week of back-and-fourth, he-said-they-said crap, the struggling network and the giraffe-like host divorced Thursday.

For O’Brien and his staff: A $45 million separation package ($12 million going to his staff) and at least a seven-month hiatus –– if not more.

For NBC: Jay Leno, a potential hit in the key demographic (ages 18 to 49) ratings and lighter pockets.

So one question: How could NBC be so stupid?

The numbers speak for themselves. For the last O’Brien-hosted show Friday, preliminary Nielsen ratings tallied 7.0, more than all other late night network shows combine.

Also, the show drew about 4.8 on the scale for NBC’s key demographic, which was higher than Jay Leno’s last “Tonight Show” for the same age range.

The point: Conan’s got a lot of pull with young people, and they’ll follow him wherever he lands.

Despite this juicy tidbit of entertainment news, in a time like this, where people are still beneath rubble in Haiti and hundreds of thousands of Americans are out of jobs, it’s a wonder to many why this story’s important.

In fact, it’s not. In comparison, nothing relates to these horrible tragedies. And Conan agrees.

“For 17 years, I’ve been getting paid to do what I love most and, in a world with real problems, I’ve been absurdly lucky,” O’Brien wrote in a statement to the New York Times.

But for so long we’re the ones who have been lucky. Lucky to have an escape from this world of pain and grief, even if just for an hour of late night TV with a small mug of CoCo.

Mr. O’Brien, come back soon.

 Posted by at 1:52 pm

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