Conan divorces NBC for $45 million

William Herbe

Jan. 22 marked the end of an era on late night television. “The Tonight Show” ended, for now, and one of the greatest late night talk show hosts Conan O’Brien with it. Looking back at the hosts that have graced “The Tonight Show,” Conan O’Brien is arguably one of the most popular and beloved in its history. Unfortunately, he won’t be remembered on the “Tonight Show” because he was the longest running host or won the most awards.

Conan lasted just seven months before NBC intervened and threatened to chop down the hour-long show to just 30 minutes, while giving Jay Leno his 11:35 time slot back. This was an outrage. I would have prepared myself for a somber goodbye and rallied outside of Universal Studios in support of Conan’s decision to reject the pathetic offer by NBC and its president Jeff Zucker. But I couldn’t muster up the same amount of anger and disgust that many had towards NBC for letting him go.

The immediate disappointment I carried because of Conan’s departure was quickly channeled to anger because of the reactions of the public and their shallow concerns for Conan O’Brien’s life after the show.

The media helped spurn a great debate and distaste for both NBC and Leno. The anger, backlash and reaction I heard from celebrities and friends are a show of great support, but I can’t wrap my head around the energy many people want to exhaust on people that are well-off, privileged and filthy rich.

Hello! Does anyone really care that much, or did they just want to be the next trendster to support CoCo? A group called “I’m with CoCo” was established on Facebook and the number of users that joined the group rose at an alarming rate as the messy divorce proceeded.

Does anyone really think this is it for O’Brien? It’s not. He has been in the comedy and writing business for more than two decades, and he isn’t going to be leaving permanently. It’s a matter of time before he is on Fox, ABC or HBO doing the same thing he was doing on NBC since 1993.

The poor guy is just getting so screwed, isn’t he? Think again, people. The public is crying for NBC’s head and Leno’s balls all the while O’Brien and his staff are getting more than $40 million in a settlement that finalizes O’Brien’s career at NBC. It doesn’t add up that the public gets so stirred up because of what NBC did to him. The guy received millions from NBC to walk away, which will allow him to travel the world with his family for the rest of their lives if they wanted.

This is the problem with society. It took something like the Haiti disaster to distract the public for a couple days from this sad, sad story. Even then, the public couldn’t give it up.
I’m not saying that genuine O’Brien fans don’t exist in the millions. The guy is hilarious and entertaining. I’m just as bummed that he won’t be on TV for an indefinite amount of time as much as anyone else. But there are still reruns, so he is still on TV, collecting more royalties.

Its ridiculous and nauseating to see so many say “poor Conan” and “Jay” and whoever else gets fired or laid off from television or the movies. Celebrities and entertainers make millions a year and live fantastic lives from their elitist earnings.

What about the teachers and janitors, or bus drivers, garbage workers and nurses that are getting laid off? They have their families and themselves to take care of. And they are working jobs that are vital to our lives and well-being. O’Brien, Leno, Letterman and other late night hosts cater to audiences that participate when they have the time. It’s called a luxury program that comes from a luxury invention.

It’s time to get our emotions, energy and priorities straight. We need to pick our influences on a realistic, human level and stray from the pipe dreams and trances we are entrenched in from the Internet and television. It’s time to get behind the real heroes in our neighborhoods and cities. Let’s converse about the real problems that affect us and rally around those who truly need it.