Blackwolf the Dragonmaster's Diary of Magecraft

Being a Chronicle of the Inner Secrets of, and Spells of Magick as Wielded by, the Philosopher of the Internet and Unofficial Sorcerer-in-Residence of the City of New York

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Location: New York, New York, United States

As New York's Unofficial Wizard, my mission is to encourage the Mortals of Manhattan to imagine responsibly!

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Blackwolf Ponders Conan on 60 Minutes

On tonight's 60 Minutes, Steve Kroft interviews Conan O'Brien for the first time since his recently concluded Legally Banned from Being Funny on Television Tour. It is, so they say, Conan's first interview since the tragic circumstances that culminated in his signing up with TBS to do a new, hour-long late-night show, scheduled to premiere in November.

Doubtless your Dragonmaster has a vested interest in what Conan will have to say this evening. As you know, were it not for Conan, there would not be a vested interest in Blackwolf the Dragonmaster, let alone the prospect of a feature-length documentary film to be made about me. That said, I think you Mortals deserve one more look at Conan's statement from this past January, because I believe there is much to be learned from its wisdom. Here it is:

People of Earth:

In the last few days, I've been getting a lot of sympathy calls, and I wanna start by making it clear that no one should waste a second feeling sorry for me. For 17 years, I've been getting paid to do what I love most; and, in a world beset with real problems, I've been absurdly lucky. That said, I've been suddenly put into a very public predicament, and my bosses are demanding an immediate decision.

6 years ago, I signed a contract with NBC to take over The Tonight Show, beginning in June of 2009. Like a lot of us, i grew up watching Johnny Carson every night; and the chance to one day actually sit in That Chair has meant everything to me. I have worked long and hard to get that opportunity, passed up far more lucrative offers, and, since 2004, I have literally spent hundreds of hours trying to think of newer and better ways to extend the franchise long into the future. But it was my mistaken belief that, like my predecessor, I would have the benefit of some time and, just as important, some degree of ratings support from the primetime schedule. To build a lasting audience at 11:30 is simply impossible without both.

But sadly, we were never given that chance. And so, after only 7 months, with my Tonight Show in its infancy, NBC has decided to react to their terrible difficulties in prime time by making a major change in their long-established late-night schedule.

Last Thursday, NBC executives informed me that they intended to move The Tonight Show to 12:05 in order to accommodate The Jay Leno Show at 11:35. For more than 60 years, The Tonight Show has aired immediately following the late local news. I sincerely believe that to delay The Tonight Show into the next day for the purpose of accommodating another comedy program will seriously damage what I believe to be the greatest franchise in the history of modern broadcasting. The Tonight Show at 12:05 simply isn't The Tonight Show. Also, any attempt on my part to accept such a move would knock the Late Night show, which I inherited from David Letterman, and which I have since passed on to Jimmy Fallon, out of its long-held time slot. That would damage the other NBC franchise that I love, and it would be unfair to Jimmy.

And so, it has come down to this: I cannot express in words how much I have enjoyed hosting this program, much less what an enormous personal disappointment it is for me to have to consider losing it. My staff and I have worked unbelievably hard, and we are very proud indeed of our contribution to the legacy of The Tonight Show. But I cannot participate in what I honestly believe is its destruction. Some people will make the argument that, given DVRs and the Internet, a time slot just doesn't matter. In the case of The Tonight Show, I believe nothing could matter more.

There has been speculation about my going to another network; but, to set the record straight, I currently have no other offer, and honestly, I have no idea as to what will happen next. My hope is that NBC and I can resolve these issues quickly so that my staff, my crew and I can do a show we can be proud of, for a company that values our work.

Have a great day --- and, for the record, I am truly sorry about my hair. It's always been that way.

Well, as you already know by now, dearests, events sadly proved otherwise; not even I, Master Blackwolf, could have prevented these sad tidings had I but the force to do so. It is clear to me that, as far as late-night (and, come to that, everything else) is concerned, NBC's basic attitude is "Fuck tradition; the viewers are obsessed with the new!" What will such an attitude do to the ultimate destiny of NBC? Alas, that I cannot say. And with Triumph the Insult Comic Dog now the sole exclusive property of NBC Universal, Inc., and Robert Smigel now set to make his mark as a full-time screenwriter, I fear that, even with Conan coming to TBS, the landscape of late-night television will be affected in ways even I myself could not envision, much less comprehend. I can therefore do little else save watch and wait; and, as ever, I would have you, my faithful fans, to keep me company.

Please enjoy this evening's conversation; then, if you so choose, contact me if you wish to respond to these humble thoughts. You know how to get to me: and --- and you can also respond by visiting my Twitter presence,

Master Blackwolf