Over the last week the talk show circuit has exploded as NBC has announced plans to place Jay Leno back in his 10:35 Central time slot, while pushing Conan O’Brien back to 12:05am and Jimmy Fallon somehwere into the year 2072. While the treatment of O’Brien has been seen as largely unfair, I actually feel that the floppy haired funnyman would benefit from an NBC to FOX move, if such a deal really does exist somewhere in the backrooms of Fox Studios.
Less we forget, Conan O’Brien was a shining star for Fox, writing some of the most memorable episodes of the Simpsons (can everyone say “Monorail”). By entering into an agreement with a network that actually appreciates his talents, Conan may be able to poach some of the networks best comedic writing talents, a move that could help keep his shows stay fresh with new raw material.
Furthermore, O’Brien would more than likely have extra leeway with how he presents his material. NBC officials have admitted that they wanted Conan to “broaden his appeal” however Conan isn’t your grandma and grandpas version of the Tonight Show, instead he targets younger crowds and during his old timeslot he did that better than any other talk show host. If Fox can get Family Guy and Simpsons viewers to tune into the funnyman’s new show, the show could reap advertiser gold by targeting the coveted 18-45 year old male demographic. If you want to know how profitable that demographic is, just look at the huge profits being reaped by ESPN.
Speaking of demographics, if Conan really does prove to resonate with younger (under 45 years old) viewers and he was to compete alongside Leno and Letterman, it could mean a world of hurt for those talk shows which rely heavily on that demographic to fill advertising spots. While it’s true that Conan’s numbers in those demographics have not been as high as Leno’s run as the Tonight Show host, it’s also safe to say that having a talk show on at 10pm hasn’t helped draw in viewers who don’t want to watch two talk shows almost back to back.
Fox could also provide Conan with the type of advertising his show would need to grab an audience. After all, what better advertising platforms could their be for Conan’s type of humor than Simpsons, Family Guy, The Cleveland Show and American Dad? If ever there was a network geared towards Conan fans it’s Fox.
Finally, Conan at Fox makes sense because Fox has defined what comedy is and what it can be. In the days of Married With Children it was believed that Al Bundy and his brood were too crass for TV, it’s now years later and Fox has continued to push the envelope and that’s exactly what Conan would be able to do. After all, no true Conan fan wanted the masterbating bear to go into retirement or the dozens of other “mainstay” characters we all came to love.
Conan O’Brien was told he basically blew his chance according to NBC top brass, yet it was never really his chance to blow, because he never really had the ability to take any chances and make the show his own. I know Conan has said repeatedly that having the Tonight Show as his own was a dream come true, but I say it’s time for Conan to raise his goals a bit and make his new show, hopefully on Fox, the show that some kid with goofy hair and a penchant for bad dancing hopes to take over one day in the future. Just do us a favor Conan, if you say you are going to retire when that new kid climbs up the ranks, either actually retire or maybe grab a spot from someone at NBC.