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Monday, April 19, 2021

The following just may be my all-time favorite sports-talk non sequitur:

He’s listed as day to day; but then again, aren’t we all?

As delivered by Dan Patrick and/or Keith Olbermann on ESPN, during SportsCenter’s “Big Show” golden years (who, in turn, borrowed it from baseball announcing legend Vin Scully). Of all the pop-culture infused catchphrases and riffs that were peppered amidst game highlights and player reports, this particular one delivered a short and sweet bit of humor, tinged with deadpan pathos.

That’s why I’m frustrated when I consistently flub it whenever I try to deliver the line myself. Somehow, it just doesn’t translate to everyday parlance, even though the feeling of existence as a daily gamble is certainly relatable. Or maybe I’m not an adroit enough conversationalist to pull it off.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 04/19/2010 10:57pm
Category: Comedy, Sports, TV, Wordsmithing
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Saturday, April 17, 2021

going green
The few times I’ve caught Vancouver Canucks games on television this season, I’ve scratched my head over scenes like this one:

Who are those green-spandexed freaks? And since when did a National Hockey League game become a fair setting for plexiglass-pressing performance art?

It turns out that the Canucks Green Men are a new feature at General Motors Place. They’re not sanctioned by the arena nor the hockey team — which I’d wondered about, since they seemed so synchronized in their acrobatic penalty-box taunting. As for further details:

For the uninitiated, the Green Men were revealed by the Vancouver Sun as British Columbia Institute of Technology students Ryan Sullivan and Adam Forsythe, whose Green Men alter-egos go by Sully and Force. They initially wanted to use the “Green Man” gimmick at a Seattle Seahawks game, but the bodysuits they ordered arrived too late for the game. The NFL’s loss was the NHL’s gain.

Not that these schoolboys are being wholly original: Their Green Men inspiration came from an identical character from the television show “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”. American cultural hegemony strikes again!

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 04/17/2010 02:23pm
Category: Creative, Hockey, TV
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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

hey now
Well heck, it’s the middle of the week. I know I could use a laugh. So let’s let Larry and Artie (and the former’s, ahem, ass) from “The Larry Sanders Show” provide the yucks:

With the probable risk of this clip being pulled off of YouTube at some point due to rights issues, here’s the fun-funny transcript:

Larry: Why didn’t you just say “no”, be done with it for the good of the show?

Artie: Hey buddy, this is my personal area and you’re pushing me. Now listen, I just received an offer, like you do; I’m considering it, and if you can’t live with that, sonny-boy — tough titty!

Larry: [awed pause] You didn’t just say “tough titty”, did you?

Artie: [emphatically] Tough tit-tay!

Larry: You know what I think — I think you’re having a little problem. I think you’re afraid that if you say “no”, she’ll dump you. That’s what I think.

Artie: Aw, that’s a crock of horseshit.

Larry: Oh, you think so? I don’t think so. I think you’re afraid.

Artie: Yeah, I’m afraid. [sarcastically] I’m afraid that I’m gonna turn into a lonely old geezer, wondering whether your melon got chopped up, or whether I told you that your ass doesn’t look fat!

Larry: Too late.

Artie: Not for me, buddy!

Larry: My ass is fine. My ass is great. I never felt better about my ass.

Artie: Then maybe you don’t need me.

Larry: Maybe… we don’t.

Artie: Then maybe you and your fat ass can go fuck yourselves!!

Larry: Thank you! I was just waiting for a go-ahead…

Artie: Well, go right ahead!

Larry: Thank you!

Artie: Don’t wait for me!

Larry: I will not wait for you! [turns to the mirror, checks his ass in the reflection, exclaims "He-llo!"]

Unfortunately, I can’t zero in on the specific episode of “Larry Sanders” that this is from; none of the official episode titles match the “Too Late” placard at the start of this video. Whichever one it was, I’m sure the rest of it was just as hilarious.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 04/14/2010 08:15am
Category: Comedy, TV
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Monday, April 12, 2021

mo coco
In an industry where a secret is never really a secret, today’s news that Conan O’Brien will return to television in November with an 11pm show on cable network TBS qualifies as a wild curveball.

I’m hoping he keeps his guest-warlock-on-“Bewitched” beard. Or regrows it, if necessary. It works for his Twitter avatar, so it’s sure to work for his return to latenight! (Speaking of which, he needs to book his lone Twitter followee as one of his first guests.) Plus, he needs to decamp from Los Angeles and bring his new show back to where he belongs: New York. Make it happen!

Nothing to do now but wait until the show’s debut toward the end of the year. And to heed the closing comments on this development to O’Brien himself:

“In three months I’ve gone from network television to Twitter to performing live in theaters, and now I’m headed to basic cable. My plan is working perfectly.”

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 04/12/2021 10:09pm
Category: Celebrity, Comedy, Social Media Online, TV
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Sunday, April 11, 2021

Does Chelsea Handler, and her caustic talkshow, represent the next wave of late-night TV comedy?

All of this is slightly reminiscent of the original Not Ready for Prime Time Players. Nobody is going to argue that [Jo] Koy and [Heather] McDonald are the next Chevy Chase and Gilda Radner. But there is something about the shambolic round table sessions of “Chelsea Lately” that recalls the early days of “Saturday Night Live,” where the skits sometimes fell flat (except to the people who were performing them), where no one looked quite like what people imagined a TV star to look like — and yet a small, fiercely loyal audience responded and made the show a hit.

I’m more a fan of Handler’s than of that roundtable she insists upon holding. There’s insider patter, and then there’s the baseless preening that Koy, McDonald, and the other second-rate comics engage in in front of the “Lately” cameras. They’re desperate for televised attention and exposure, and it shows, and it also shows how not ready for prime time they truly are. Handler probably does have what it takes to ascend to the next level, but she’ll do it without those hangers-on.

Anyway, on to the main reason I wrote this post: As an excuse to run the above photo again. Both billboard and van are long since gone from their original locations on Lafayette Street in NoHo; last I looked, a vodka ad had replaced the “sharpest tongue” messaging for “Chelsea Lately”. It’s not nearly as eye-catching.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 04/11/2021 09:20pm
Category: Celebrity, New Yorkin', Photography, TV
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Saturday, April 10, 2021

Chris Rock was perhaps never funnier than when he did his “The Dark Side with Nat X” skit on “Saturday Night Live”. “Nat X” was a rare gem, not only for the obvious parodying of ultra black nationalist sensibilities, but also because of how much it spoofed SNL’s then-contemporary sister late night show, “Late Night with David Letterman” (particularly the “White-Man Cam”, a direct homage to Letterman’s “Thrill Cam”).

My absolute favorite joke from “Nat X” has to be his sociopolitical take on bowling:

Sandman: Tonight’s letter - Dear Nat, you seem like a very tense man. What do you do to relax?

Nat X: Well, I like to go bowling. There’s nothing like taking that big, black ball and knocking it into those ten white pins with the red necks!

Incidentally, the transcript linked to above included another racial interpretation on yet another sport (which I’d forgotten all about until now):

…I’m talking about the same man who invented the game of pool: a game in which the player uses a white ball and a stick to knock a bunch of colored balls off a table and into a bunch of holes!

Action-agent gameballs that represent both races. Separate but equal, size discrepancy aside.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 04/10/2021 05:56pm
Category: Comedy, Other Sports, Pop Culture, TV
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Thursday, April 08, 2021

Who knows why I spontaneously started humming the tune to the old Schoolhouse Rock “Preamble” song earlier this afternoon? I suppose that, with as many times as I watched those animated Saturday morning shorts back during my 70s childhood, the edutainment-themed rhythms burrowed their way permanently into my brain. (It’ll be interesting when senility hits.)

And indeed, any creative effort that makes a catchy ditty out of fusty 18th-Century legalese is worthy of an encore performance:

Nostalgia, courtesy of Constitutional indoctrination. Only in America!

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 04/08/2021 10:37pm
Category: Creative, History, Politics, Pop Culture, TV
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Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Of all the places you’d expect to find skepticism on climate change, the television weather-guy/girl is probably the unlikeliest:

Such skepticism appears to be widespread among TV forecasters, about half of whom have a degree in meteorology. A study released on Monday by researchers at George Mason University and the University of Texas at Austin found that only about half of the 571 television weathercasters surveyed believed that global warming was occurring and fewer than a third believed that climate change was “caused mostly by human activities.”

More than a quarter of the weathercasters in the survey agreed with the statement “Global warming is a scam,” the researchers found.

Why would those most prominently on the climatic front-lines break ranks with the greater scientific community? It’s a short-term versus long-term perceptional gap:

Climate scientists use very different scientific methods from the meteorologists. Heidi Cullen, a climatologist who straddled the two worlds when she worked at the Weather Channel, noted that meteorologists used models that were intensely sensitive to small changes in the atmosphere but had little accuracy more than seven days out. Dr. Cullen said meteorologists are often dubious about the work of climate scientists, who use complex models to estimate the effects of climate trends decades in the future.

Given the average (in)accuracy of boob-tube forecasting, along with a vocational reputation for wacky-weather screentime, I’m inclined to side with the climatologists. Knowing about these proclivities amongst the weather-map-pointers only reinforces my overall aversion to local TV news, on grounds of general fluffiness.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 03/30/2010 11:34pm
Category: Science, TV, Weather
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Tuesday, March 23, 2021

The Age of Distraction marches on, as more Americans (60 percent) routinely are watching both the TV screen and computer monitor at the same time:

“The rise in simultaneous use of the web and TV gives the viewer a unique on-screen and off-screen relationship with TV programming,” said Nielsen Company media product leader Matt O’Grady. “The initial fear was that Internet and mobile video and entertainment would slowly cannibalize traditional TV viewing, but the steady trend of increased TV viewership alongside expanded simultaneous usage argues something quite different.”

I’ll point out that I’ve been doing this split-screen viewing for years. And I’ve been doing it by design. I’ve never owned a desktop computer system, instead opting for notebooks for the past 10-12 years — long before most people started doing the same — mainly so I could situate both keyboard and remote control in the same room. So personally, this trending is nothing new for me.

I’m assuming the general population accomplished this shift similarly. Which hints at a deeper shift in people’s perception of the computer, and, by extension, the Internet. Remember when most households had a dedicated “computer room”, basically a home office setup where young and old family members did their online time? I’m guessing this is now out the window, with portable devices and wi-fi making the notion laughable. And that decentralization of the home computing experience led to a gravitation toward the other media hub: The television, which remains more fixed-positioned.

The behavior developing from this hardware interaction also tells me that advancing efforts at melding television with the Web on a single screen — assumptively, the larger TV set — are misguided. People like having more than one screen to flit back and forth on (often three, if you count the ever-present mobile phone). It’s becoming natural to take in the televised content almost in the traditional, passive manner — and then turning to the computer for the simultaneously interactive portion of the experience. Why combine all that action onto what would seem like a cramped single screen? The melding of the mediums has already arrived, and it’s taking place across multiple screens.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 03/23/2010 10:20pm
Category: Internet, Society, TV, Tech
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Wednesday, March 17, 2021

In the half-century since Stanley Milgram’s famed psychological experimentation on unwavering obedience to authority, it seems that little has changed about human impulses, other than the need for television cameras to go with the simulated electrocutions:

The producers of [the French television documentary] “The Game of Death,” set to air Wednesday night, wanted to examine both what they call TV’s mind-numbing power to suspend morality, and the striking human willingness to obey orders.

“Television is a power. We know it, but it’s theoretical,” producer Christophe Nick told the daily Le Parisien. “I wondered: Is it so important that it can turn us into potential executioners?”

In the end, more than four in five “players” gave the maximum jolt.

“People never would have obeyed if they didn’t have trust,” Nick was quoted as saying in the paper’s Wednesday edition. “They told themselves, ‘TV knows what it’s doing.’”

I’m a bit dumbfounded that none of the participants recognized the Milgram template, which was copied step-by-step. It should have been a dead giveaway that something fishy was going on. I consider that historic episode to be near-common knowledge to anyone who went to school in the States. Maybe it’s not as widely known in Europe? (Then again, I’m sure far too many Americans probably would whiff on this too.)

In fact, this is worse than Milgram’s experiments. Back then, the test subjects at least had anonymity to mask their actions — they could rationalize that no one outside of a Yale University lab would ever know what they had done. But adding in the modern-day convention of a (fake) reality show means that the French participants carried out their deeds knowing full well that millions would be watching. Draw your own conclusions on how that reflects current societal mores.

Despite the false-front this time around, Europeans seem to approach reality TV a bit too seriously:

In the Netherlands in 2007, a game show titled the “Big Donor Show” was branded as tasteless and unethical for offering a kidney as top prize. Its aim, to raise awareness about those awaiting for organ transplants, appeared to work: over 12,000 people registered as organ donors after the broadcast. That was at least three times the normal average - for a month.

Silly Euros! Don’t they know that true reality television, a la the American iterations, has no redeeming value? At best, it produces forgettable celebrity and even more forgettable gross-out spectacles. No additional electricity required.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 03/17/2010 06:37pm
Category: History, RealiTV Check, Science, Society
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Tuesday, March 16, 2021

The reinvention of Mike Tyson continues: He’s literally going to the birds, via a reality show on Animal Planet.

Tyson, a life-long pigeon keeper, will star in a series about bird racing… “I may have stopped fighting,” says the former heavyweight champ. “But I never stopped flying birds. It’s my first love.”

The show, to be called “Take on Tyson,” pits Tyson and his birds against the best racing-pigeon owners in New York.

Apparently, pigeon racing is an organized sport, governed by something called the American Racing Pigeon Union. Presumably, the world of cockfighting would have been Plan B.

I don’t doubt Tyson’s devotion to his winged friends, as displayed on this old “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” segment. Still, don’t be surprised if one of the signature moments from this show ends up being Tyson taking a bird-sized bite out of an under-performing flier.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 03/16/2010 11:39pm
Category: Celebrity, Other Sports, RealiTV Check
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Sunday, March 07, 2021

News flash to my generation: A certain former music channel is cutting the cord:

“We’re pushing Generation X out,” [MTV Networks President Van] Toffler said. “We’re slaves to our different audiences, for MTV that’s millennials, who are vastly different than Generation X; they’re definitely less cynical — they’re more civic minded.”

News flash to Toffler: For the most part, Gen-X pushed MTV out the door years ago. Probably around the time that the “M” stopped standing for “music” (apparently, it now stands for “millennials”), and proto-reality show sludge like “The Real World” started dominating the channel’s airtime. As much as the channel was defined in its formative years by Gen-Xers — and vice-versa — times have changed for both. It’s not like anyone expected a televised shrine to youth to gracefully grow old with its founding audience.

In fact, one wonders why the official disconnect comes at this late date:

Regardless of whether the network’s programming matches its ideals, Toffler’s way of thinking is good business. There are roughly 78 million millennials. Generation X only has around 46 million members. If you couple that fact with the generalization that Gen-Xers are both less consumer-minded than their peers and much harder to fool, then it becomes downright surprising that MTV waited this long to shift their focus to greener pastures.

I suppose there are compensations. Middle-aged Xers can shift to VH1, where they can catch… well, the same reality TV crap as on the MTV mothership. Here’s to staying young forever!

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 03/07/2021 06:44pm
Category: Pop Culture, Society, TV
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From here, any building buzz for tonight’s Oscars ceremony has been pretty well displaced by the Cablevision-Disney blackout of the broadcast in the tri-state area.

But, all told, disgruntled Cablevision subscribers shouldn’t feel that bad. Because in an indirect way, the loss of some 3.1 million viewers dovetails with the overall lessening of impact that an Academy Award nomination has had on the box office this year:

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences doubled the number of [Best Picture] nominees this year in hopes of drawing more attention to more movies. But the revenue bump for this year’s crop is less than the one enjoyed by last year’s five best-picture hopefuls.

And of that $135 million, all but about $24 million went to the one film in least need of an Oscar bump: the record-smashing “Avatar.” The figures were generated between the nominations Feb. 2 and the last weekend before Sunday’s awards.

Last year’s best picture nominees pulled in $146 million over a comparable period, and most of that went to a film Oscar helped turn into a sensation: “Slumdog Millionaire.” Three of the five 2009 nominees at least doubled their take in that period, something no film in this year’s batch even came close to doing.

So this year, fewer people are watching the Oscars, or the theatrical releases that are up for Oscars. Nice symmetry.

I’m sure the industry reaction will be to amp up the number of nominations, rationalizing that this year’s Best Picture expansion failed because it just didn’t go far enough. How does twenty potential Best Pictures crowding the box office sound? Not that the box office is the true target:

And a nomination lasts forever, whether a movie is in theaters or being offered on Netflix, so the full story of the benefits of the expanded category hasn’t been told yet. Studios make billions of dollars on DVD and Blu-ray disc sales, not to mention what they collect from pay TV outlets at home and abroad.

At the end of the day, it’s just a marketing label. The pomp, circumstance, and statuette are entirely incidental.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 03/07/2021 05:35pm
Category: Advert./Mktg., Movies, TV
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Monday, March 01, 2021

eyes have it
Much ado over “the most-watched hockey game in 30 years”, with an estimated 27.6 million Americans watching the U.S.-Canada gold medal game. The context:

To put the numbers in perspective, Sunday’s game drew a higher overnight rating than every World Series game since 2004 (including every game of Yankees/Phillies last year), every NBA Finals telecast since 1998, and every NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four game since at least ‘98.

Excluding the NFL, the 17.6 overnight for the game is the second-highest of the year for any sporting event, behind only the Texas/Alabama BCS National Championship Game in January (18.2).

That kind of televised turnout sparks discussion on how, or if, it’ll transfer over to the National Hockey League.

The short answer: It won’t.

Certainly, hockey proved itself worthy of the showcase-event placement it garnered as the closing act of the Games (especially impressive considering that standard Olympics presentations tend to emphasize individual athletic personalities). And certainly, the fervor created by Vancouver will net the NHL a few extra followers for the stretch run of the 2009-10 season. But let’s face it: People tuned in because this was a once-every-four-years happening, and the grand finale happened to feature a storybook North American rivalry. The echoes of 1980 (strained as they were) helped build the momentum for the U.S., as well (the Canadians, of course, didn’t need any such priming of the pump).

But, for all the enthusiasm that was generated, I don’t see it carrying past the extinguished Olympic torches. It was indeed a self-contained moment, part of what made it special. There’s no sense of re-living that experience by catching the next NHL game on Versus or NBC, let alone on a regional sports network.

It is amusing to think how the league could attempt to capitalize on the concept, though. Maybe continue to ride Ryan Miller as Team USA’s golden boy, and make the Buffalo Sabres “America’s team” for the NHL playoffs? They could do worse.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 03/01/2021 11:48pm
Category: Hockey, Society, TV
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Sunday, February 14, 2021

Last week, on the eve of the Winter Games commencement, I was asked on two separate occasions whether or not anyone really, actually watched the Olympics.

Being the sports snob that I am, I scoffed back that no, no one watches the Olympics — other than the 100 million or so who tune in every couple of years. I thought that was an effective comeback, which underlined how a person projects his/her own perceptions and preferences onto the wider popular consciousness. (And we all do that, including me, who unfailingly muses on if anyone cares about things like awards shows or reality TV, despite being fully away of the millions of devoted fans for each.)

As it turns out, my off-the-cuff citation of that 100 million viewership for the five-ring circus was only half the story:

“I’m very confident we’ll do well from a ratings standpoint,” NBC research guru Alan Wurtzel told reporters Thursday. He said he expects 200 million people to watch at least parts of the Vancouver Games over the 17-day telecast. That number would be fewer than the 215 million who tuned in for the Beijing Olympics, but more than the 184 million from the prior winter Olympics in Torino, Italy.

So it’s more like a couple hundred million viewers who “don’t count” when it comes to the Olympics. All depending on your perspective, of course.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 02/14/2010 03:30pm
Category: Other Sports, Society, TV
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Sunday, February 07, 2021

In a fairly staid commercial lineup for Super Bowl XLIV, the clear winner for me was this utterly improbable pairing of David Letterman and Jay Leno (with Oprah in the moderating middle):

Maybe even funnier than the ad itself is the lengths taken to keep its inception secret:

The spot was shot last Tuesday afternoon, under the strictest of secrecy which involved both Mr. Leno and Ms. Winfrey flying in surreptitiously to New York, and arriving incognito at the [Ed Sullivan Theater], while Mr. Letterman was in the midst of taping his show for that night. It also involved Jay wearing a disguise: hooded sweatshirt, glasses and faux mustache. If you happened to be on Broadway between 53rd and 54th street last Tuesday about 4:15, you might have seen a man fitting that description slip into the theater by a small entrance under the marquee.

All that for a “Late Show with David Letterman” promo. And it basically topped every other $3-million, 30-second spot of the night. Dave might have been complaining about his “worst Super Bowl party ever”, but it produced the best commercial break during the whole game.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 02/07/2021 11:45pm
Category: Advert./Mktg., Celebrity, Football, New Yorkin', TV
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Sunday, January 24, 2021

Maybe I’m not the one to criticize Demond Wilson when it comes to promoting “Second Banana”, his memoirs from his “Sanford and Son” years.

But if Wilson actually wanted this book to catch on, I think he should have gone with the far more obvious choice of title: “You Big Dummy!”. Having Redd Foxx’s signature catchphrase from the show front-and-center on the cover would bring the book instant pop-cultural recognition. Plus, the novelty factor alone would have ensured a few extra sold copies.

Alas, this lost opportunity seems like something that Lamont Sanford himself would have flubbed. Eliciting yet another “you big dummy!” from his Pop, Fred G. — perhaps followed by yet another in a series of “big one” heart attacks.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 01/24/2010 12:50pm
Category: Comedy, Publishing, TV
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Saturday, January 23, 2021

Not to be outshined by the newly “Jersey Shore”-burnished guidos, New Englanders are coalescing into their own obnoxious subculture:

They’re called Massholes. Though there is some disagreement about what, exactly, constitutes a Masshole, there are several characteristics present in all definitions. A Masshole is a resident of Massachusetts — though sometimes Rhode Island, New Hampshire, or Maine — who possesses a nearly carnal love for the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics, and Bruins; operates motor vehicles in an aggressive fashion; drinks Sam Adams; and overuses the adjective “wicked.”

Coming soon to a reality show near you, presumably. The days of regionally-confined objectionableness are long behind us, it seems. I only hope that New York, being caught in the resulting geographic nexus, comes out intact.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 01/23/2010 05:05pm
Category: Pop Culture, RealiTV Check, Society
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Friday, January 22, 2021

It’s the end of an era — or the end of an error, depending on your outlook. “The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien” breathes its last breath tonight, bringing a close to a messy divorce between O’Brien and NBC over the network’s late-night talent shuffle.

The final show is definitely a must-see. I don’t know if we’ll see a Jack Paar-level of kiss-off from Conan, but a sendoff is a sendoff, regardless of the parting shots.

And with Conan out of the way, the battle between Letterman and Leno resumes. I’m curious to see if Leno’s audience is as portable as it’s been to date: Keep in mind that that 5-million viewership for “The Jay Leno Show” matched what he pulled in nightly when he was on “Tonight”. It’s not the same exact crowd watching him at 10:00 as at 11:30, but the bulk of it probably is. Does that mean Leno slides right back into the lead versus Letterman and CBS? Or has this episode damaged Leno’s appeal, as many critics speculate?

I’d bet that Leno will be back on top in short order. Ultimately, the audience doesn’t care about the off-camera machinations. Plus, Letterman’s been reluctant to make any necessary changes to his show, regardless of the competition — he won versus Conan through little action of his own. A sort of sick entropy will take hold over late-night, once again…

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 01/22/2010 06:25pm
Category: Business, Celebrity, TV
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Wednesday, January 13, 2021

super conan land
Well, that didn’t take long. Less than a week after NBC announced its salvage plans to move Jay Leno back to 11:35, Conan O’Brien announced that he’s extracting himself from the network’s resultant late-night traffic jam:

Mr. O’Brien’s statement Tuesday said that he so respected the institution of “The Tonight Show” that he could not participate in what “I honestly believe is its destruction.”…

The statement also took NBC to task for not giving the show more time or supplying stronger lead-in audiences, which could be interpreted as a shot at Mr. Leno’s poor performance at 10 p.m. (Though Mr. O’Brien mentioned Johnny Carson, David Letterman and Jimmy Fallon in his statement, he never referred to Mr. Leno by name, only by the title of his show.)

“After only seven months,” Mr. O’Brien wrote, “with my ‘Tonight Show’ in its infancy, NBC has decided to react to their terrible difficulties in prime time by making a change in their long-established late-night schedule.”

So NBC basically gets its wish: Leno back as “Tonight Show” host for the full hour, followed by Jimmy Fallon and Carson Daly (like either of those two matter). Conan will eventually get a new show with FOX. Letterman will have on-air gloating material for months to come. And Leno gets back to his old digs, which is what he wanted all along (so color him complicit in pushing out Conan).

I personally like Conan’s comedic sensibilities, but I’ll point out that none of this would have happened had he not tanked in the ratings versus Letterman. Even during the last couple of years of his “Late Night” run, O’Brien really seemed to be drifting in his output. Maybe this shock to the system will rejuvinate him, in whatever direction he chooses to go.

As for NBC: This would be their second failure at handling a talent overload in their late-night roster, going back to the Leno-Letterman battle to succeed Johnny Carson. In the future — assuming there is one for them — they should just bite the bullet and let the also-ran jump ship early, and avoid the longer-term headaches.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 01/13/2010 08:08am
Category: Business, Celebrity, TV
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Tuesday, January 12, 2021

No one else I’ve tried this on tonight thinks this is funny. Regardless, I’m pressing on:

In consideration of NBC broadcasting this year’s Winter Olympics, I think the network should rebrand one of its hallmark shows, “The Biggest Loser”, thusly:

“The Biggest Luger”. As in luge, the winter sport.

I’m thinking it would involve a big fat guy getting greased up to slide around a treacherous track. Artificial or natural track, either way. Riders optional. Hey, I’d watch it. I’d watch it instead of either an actual luge event, or an episode of “The Biggest Loser”.

Like I said, no one else sees the humor in this. But what do they know? I say it’s funny. Even Larry Sanders-quality comedy.

UPDATE, THURSDAY JAN. 14, 2010 - In fact, this joke is Conan O’Brien-quality, as he used it on “The Tonight Show” last night. “Obese people on sleds”, indeed.

I’ll give Conan a pass on stealing this idea from me. Mainly because a) he probably didn’t steal it, as it’s such an obvious pun; and b) he’s got enough problems lately.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 01/12/2021 11:18pm
Category: Comedy, Other Sports, TV
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