You Are Not Conan O’Brien
Lance Haun | Rehaul.com
January 27, 2010
In case you’ve been in a media free zone the past couple of weeks, you know Conan O’Brien has left The Tonight Show. I’ve read takes by Libby Sartain and Jason Seiden so I am late to the party and I have various degrees of difficulty with both arguments thrown out there. Let me be perfectly clear before I begin: I am on Team Conan. I’ve never watched Leno for more than a couple of segments. I just don’t think he is funny. So there are my biases. Bring it on FTC.
Conan: Super Rock Star Talent
Conan O’Brien isn’t just rock star talent, he is super rock star talent. Even by the network he parted ways with, he was considered a rock star as they tried to prevent him from going to another network by giving him a mega-deal to keep him at the 12:30am spot for five freaking years. Five years! For a time slot that most networks use to run the latest (and extremely creepy) Billy Mays infomercials or repeat number three of Sportscenter.
Has that ever happened to you at your job? Has anyone ever thrown you that kind of coin to keep you from a competitor?
Here’s my guess: probably not. Conan had talent that was worth that ridiculous money. He had a skill set that only a couple of people in the world have: a TV friendly formula, an of audience and over a decade of successfully running a talk show on the same network.
We talk about shifts in power all of the time on this blog. Conan had the power to essentially write his own exit even after the network had chosen this other guy (who is fairly well regarded as well).
Do you think your company is going to do that for you when you decide you want to move on?