You Make Us So Happy, Oh, Andy (Richter) -

You Make Us So Happy, Oh, Andy (Richter)


In case you haven’t seen it yet, Andy Richter was on Regis and The One Who’s Not Kathie Lee Kelly this morning, and while he didn’t dish a lot of dirt or anything (“I have children, I still need work”), he did talk frankly about the mistakes made by the network, and the fact that “low ratings” talk is sometimes — at least when the ratings aren’t great but aren’t terrible — used to justify a prior decision to dump a show:

The thing about network television is, if they like a show,  if there are extenuating circumstances, they’ll say “well, you have to think about the extenuating circumstances”… but if they don’t like a show, they’ll say, “well, they couldn’t get the ratings.”  They weren’t saying that about the local news. They weren’t saying the local news somehow got bad.

He also talked about the practical realities of the situation, like why being out of work is a bigger problem than usual for crew members who (as in this case) have just changed cities:

This was immediately irritating to people that worked on the show. From stagehands to producers, they’re getting all these emails and Facebook things about “enjoy your golden parachute” and stuff. It’s not like that. In fact, Conan is putting a lot of his own money out there. He formed a little corporation just to pay people, because all these people moved from New York to California to work on the show. They’re robbed of their contacts, so even in a down time like this, they don’t have the contacts they would have on the East Coast to get work elsewhere.

Kelly Ripa once again proves that she’s a likable interviewer. Plus she called the whole thing “a hullaballoo,” making her the first person to use that term on national television since Joanna Pettet. Joanna can get away with it because she’s hotter, though.

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You Make Us So Happy, Oh, Andy (Richter)

  1. They briefly touched on a possible tour, that would be very interesting.

    Conan's road shows are among some of his best. I think of Finland, Toronto, Chicago… They were fantastic shows.
    They could even parlay some of those gigs into Comedy Central (or similar) specials. And I haven't a doubt a slew of A-lists would line up for such gigs.

    Bring it on I say!

  2. Nobody involved here is a saint, but I can't help wonder if some of those crew members don't begrudge Conan at least a little for not being content with Late Night*. That was a pretty sweet gig.

    *I am still assuming that it was Conan playing hardball that led NBC to promise him the Tonight Show 5 (6?) years ago. If someone knwos otherwise, please share.

    • It was not so much Conan trying to push in but rather NBC wanting to avoid a similar scenario to the Leno/Letterman Tonight Show fiasco that saw Letterman go to CBS and compete directly with Leno.

      What NBC ended up with is something much more disgraceful than that first Late Night war.

      • So then it was NBC approaching Conan first to say "Guess what? As a reward for your talent and success on Late Night, we are going to give you the Tonight Show in 5 years."

        Or did Conan walk into the negotitations with "Look NBC, Late Night is a lot of fun, and you guys have been very supportive, but am I ever gonna get the 11:30 slot, 'cuz you know I could get it somewhere else?", leading NBC brass to propose a 5-yr compromise?

        • I don't know what went on in the negotiations, but it's pretty clear that O'Brien was getting antsy. Fox had previously tried to get him, and the reason given for announcing the five-year transition plan was that NBC didn't want to lose him. So they came up with this plan to ask Jay Leno to leave, but in five years. Like everything else they did, it only made short-term sense.

          So while I doubt the situation followed either of those two scenarios exactly, it is much closer to the second. Whether or not O'Brien made threats, NBC certainly had reason to believe he wouldn't stick around and wait.

  3. If Regis is tired of this stint, Andy could fill his spot: "Andy & Kelly"? I think this could work. But then again, that's what I said about Andy Barker P.I.