Super Fun Night, originally conceived as a multi-cam sitcom for CBS for the 2012-13 TV season, is much better suited as a single-cam on ABC one season later, exec producer Conan O’Brien insisted this afternoon at Summer TV Press Tour 2013. Yes, CBS has maybe the best comedy-hit-per-season records in the business, but single-cam is the best way to showcase star Rebel Wilson’s talents, like “vulnerability,” “range,” and all those “little faces” you’ve seen her do in her feature film work (Wilson’s maybe best known for playing Brynn in Bridesmaids). Plus, single cam is better for improv, said Wilson, who estimates she averages 80% improv on the big screen, but only 20% in the Super Fun Night pilot. And, of course, Super Fun Night has been given the plum post-Modern Family timeslot in the fall.
Earlier today, ABC programming chief Paul Lee insisted the decision to have Aussie Rebel’s character, Kimmie use an American accent was hers, and had nothing to do with the natural reluctance of media-conglom-owned U.S. broadcast TV networks to have stars of their primetime series speak in anything but flat mid-Atlantic accents – Southern on rare occasion, but only if absolutely necessary. … Read More »
Conan O’Brien has been tapped to hostCarson On TCM, a showcase of Hollywood interviews from Johnny Carson’s three decades as host of The Tonight Show. The series is set to air Mondays at 8 PM beginning July 1. O’Brien, host of Conan on TCM’s sister network TBS, will introduce five interviews each week on the series. Carson On TCM is a joint effort between Emmy and Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Peter Jones (Johnny Carson: King Of Late Night, TCM’s Stardust: The Bette Davis Story) of Peter Jones Productions and Jeff Sotzing of Carson Entertainment Group, which controls the Carson archives. The July 1 show will open with Johnny Carson’s 1982 interview with then-7-year-old Drew Barrymore. It will also feature interviews with Kirk Douglas (taped in 1988), Mary Tyler Moore (1978), writer Neil Simon (1980) and George Burns (1989). The July schedule for Carson on TCM will also feature interviews with such stars as Doris Day (taped in 1976), Charlton Heston (1976), Tony Curtis (1973), Shelley Winters (1975), Ronald Reagan (1975), Robin Williams (1981), Mel Brooks (1975), Bette Davis (1983), Fred Astaire (1979), Henry Fonda (1980), Elizabeth Taylor (1992) and William Holden (1976).
Turner Entertainment seems to try hardest to make advertisers laugh at its upfront presentation — and generally succeeded this time with help from Will Ferrell, Conan O’Brien, and TBS newcomer Pete Holmes. In a recorded routine, Ferrell said that he had bought the company and with his background in comedy “I couldn’t care less” about networks including CNN, TNT, and TruTv. Since “I like to mess around with my new toys,” he introduced the new boss: Charles Barkley. The former NBA star said that since “I’m in charge now” viewers would be “seeing a lot more Charles Barkley” — cutting to clips from Turner shows that insert him into the action. “This is the kind of bold thinking I was hoping for,” Ferrell said. “With me as CEO of Turner, and Charles, can you really go wrong?”
Now this is a White House press briefing we might tune in for. Conan O’Brien paid a visit to the West Wing today ahead of his hosting gig tomorrow at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Politico reports the TBS late-night host met with press secretary Jay Carney, and he also test-drove the press room podium, saying “I’ve got to get one of these”. (Maybe he’ll swap it out with his Conan desk soon?) He called the reporters’ press area “the nicest college dorm I’ve ever seen”.
DC is starting to fill up with invitees to the annual dinner, and today the MPAA hosted a Creativity Conference with Time magazine and Microsoft featuring several media biggies. The idea was to reboot Hollywood’s mojo in the wake of losing the political fight over the anti-piracy SOPA bill last year, widening the gulf between content creators and Silicon Valley. Among the participants: Harvey Weinstein, Chris Dodd, HBO CEO Richard Plepler, PBS boss Paula Kerger, Beasts Of The Southern Wild helmer Benh Zeitlin and keynote speaker Bill Clinton. The panelists didn’t break any new ground, but the ever-outspoken Weinstein had some choice words for Google — though he didn’t call it out by name. “They are all stealing (content) under the guise of, ‘We’re all hippies.’ ” he said during a session with Time managing editor Richard Stengel. “Well, hippies don’t have $22 billion … Read More »
Looks like Team Coco is in the house. Well, actually just near the house, but it is the White House we’re talking about. In the nation’s capital to host this year’s White House Correspondents Dinner, Conan O’Brien today tweeted a pic of himself in front of the Executive Mansion. “In D.C. to perform at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Practicing my opening “Goofy Sunglasses” bit,” the TBS late-night host wrote Thursday. Saturday’s dinner is the Boston native’s second stint as headliner. He also hosted in 1995, a couple of years after joining Late Night.
Conan O’Brien’s late-night TBS show is getting a companion. The network has ordered a four-week run of a new untitled late-night comedy series starring comedian Pete Holmes and produced by O’Brien’s Conaco production company, which is also behind O’Brien’s talker Conan. The Pete Holmes series will launch in fall 2013 and air four nights a week (Monday-Thursday) at midnight, following Conan. Taped before a live studio audience, the new show will combine sketches, short films, live comedy, field pieces and in-studio guest interviews. O’Brien, Jeff Ross, David Kissinger, Nick Bernstein and Dave Rath executive produce.
Conaco has had the right to program the slot after Conan as part of O’Brien’s original deal with TBS, which he signed in 2010, shortly after his exit from NBC. The agreement mirrors that of David Letterman’s production company Worldwide Pants, which owns/produces both Late Show and Late Late Show. Conaco’s initial focus was on getting Conan off the ground, with TBS airing various repeats after it. It gradually began exploring potential companions, with TBS ordering a pilot for a Holmes-fronted talk show in July. “Pete Holmes is an enormously likable performer with an agile and innovative mind,” said O’Brien. “I’m really looking forward to his show, and I’ve already had my son program my DVR.” Read More »
Team Coco is heading back to Washington D.C. Conan O’Brien will be the headliner of this year’s White House Correspondents Association Dinner, it was announced today. “Thrilled to reveal @ConanObrien has agreed to headline White House Correspondents Association’s scholarship dinner April 27 @TeamCoco,” WHCA president and Fox News Channel correspondent Ed Henry tweeted this morning. This isn’t the late-night host’s first time toplining the DC event. In 1995, when O’Brien was the host of NBC’s Late Night, he roasted then-President Bill Clinton and others from the stage. The annual mockfest has become a magnet for Presidents and other politicians, the fourth estate, Hollywood heavyweights, and tabloid fixtures. ABC late-night host Jimmy Kimmel headlined the dinner last year.
Fox has closed the deals for a script order to a single-camera medical comedy from Conan O’Brien‘s Conaco and Warner Bros TV. The project’s title,Bob’s New Heart Show, appears to be a riff on TV classic The Bob Newhart Show. Written by Ben Wexler (Community), Bob’s New Heart Show centers on a young hotshot doctor who, after receiving a heart transplant, re-evaluates his life and takes over the small family practice in the working-class neighborhood where he grew up. Wexler is executive producing with O’Brien, David Kissinger and Jeff Ross. This marks Conaco’s first project for Fox since the company set up shop at WBTV in 2010. The company is currently working on off-cycle ABC comedy pilotSuper Fun Night, created by and starring Rebel Wilson.
EXCLUSIVE: Books as source material for comedy series projects have been hot the last few development seasons. Now, with book publishing undergoing h a digital revolution, digital books are making the leap to television too.
ABC has put in development an untitled single-camera comedy based on the Kindle Single memoir Keep Swinging by Rick Marin. This is the first Kindle Single to be optioned by Hollywood since Amazon launched its service for short stories, long-form journalism and opinion pieces in January 2011.
Former Everybody Loves Raymond executive producer Lew Schneider will co-write the TV adaptation with Marin for Conan O’Brien’s Conaco Prods., which is producing with Warner Bros. TV. The comedy centers on an artsy dad with zero interest in sports who is thrown into a new family dynamic and social life as he and his wife face a challenge for which they are woefully ill-equipped: a jock kid. Marin, Schneider, O’Brien, David Kissinger and Jeff Ross are executive producing. Read More »
The comic’s become a cable industry icon since he moved from NBC to TBS, and he assured execs this morning that they have nothing to fear as new technologies and social media change the rules of engagement with TV viewers. “I was forced to embrace this world” after he lost his Tonight Show gig in 2010, he said this morning at The Cable Show. He discovered that unlike the old days, where the goal was simply to drive people to the tube, getting audiences “emotionally involved” has become just as important. For example, O’Brien says it doesn’t hurt ratings to release clips and other information ahead of a broadcast. When Will Ferrell recently appeared on Conan in character as Ron Burgundy to reveal his plan to make a sequel of The Anchorman, “we chipped his appearance out into bite-sized pieces and put it out everywhere.” That resulted in higher ratings for the night. Even people who already know what’s coming “say, ‘You know what, it’s 5 minutes of 11; I’m going to check out Conan‘.” Unlike his days at NBC, where he says there was “a condescending attitude about the Web,” Turner Broadcasting has been “absolutely a dream come true…They’re up for anything we’re up for.” O’Brien contrasted the new approach to TV to the strategies used when Johnny Carson hosted The Tonight Show. Audiences used to wait for the anniversary special to see famous clips like the one of actor Ed Ames throwing Read More »
The late-night comic didn’t bring his best material this year. Conan O’Brien told advertisers that if the upfront event were held on Skype, then “we wouldn’t have to wear pants.” He also zinged Turner Broadcasting for the relatively low-key affair, a contrast to the big networks’ lavish upfront spending from their heyday. “In 1993 it was ice sculptures and caviar.” he said. “Now we’re sending interns over to Dunkin’ Donuts to buy day-old Munchkins.” Jumping on the company’s emphasis on digital expansion, O’Brien says he has 5.5M followers on Twitter “and a pedophile on MySpace.”
He saved his best lines for a version of a feature on his show: Audience Craigslist Ads. He showed Oprah Winfrey with an ad saying “For Sale: Controlling interest in OWN. $10 or best offer.” Company founder Ted Turner wanted to sell his remote control: “I keep turning to TBS for (Atlanta) Braves games…Where are the goddamn Braves?” And a picture of Turner Broadcasting sales president David Levy showed him selling a book of advice on how to succeed when you look like “an adult version of Turtle from Entourage.” Earlier, one of O’Brien’s writers and performers, Deon Cole, gave his take on a show he’s preparing for TBS called Deon Cole’s Black Box. It’s “a clip show from a unique perspective,” he said. “And when I say ‘unique perspective’, I mean … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: TBS has ordered two comedy series ahead of its upfront presentation next week: Deon Cole’s Black Box, written by and starring Conan writer and performer Deon Cole and executive produced by Conan O’Brien; and Who Gets The Last Laugh?, from Punk’d co-creators Jason Goldberg and Ashton Kutcher. The series, both from Warner Horizon Television, are slated to premiere in 2013.
The network has picked up six episodes of Deon Cole’s Black Box. On the weekly show, the writer-comedian will provide his take on some of the most outrageous video clips to pop up across the media landscape. In his commentary, he is expected to riff on racial and gender stereotypes, politics and more. Deon Cole’s Black Box is produced by O’Brien’s Conaco and Warner Horizon, with Conaco’s Conan O’Brien, Jeff Ross and David Kissinger executive producing alongside Cole and Doug Karo. Read More »
It will be the first appearance on David Letterman’s late-night show in 13 years for Conan O’Brien when he hits the chair next Thursday (May 17). The now-TBS late-night host replaced Letterman as host of NBC’s Late Night in 1993 after Letterman left for CBS. Of course, O’Brien eventually (and briefly) was host of The Tonight Show, a gig Letterman wanted back in the day and led to his departure from NBC after the job went to Jay Leno.
EXCLUSIVE: On the heels of TBS picking up Conan O’Brien’s late-night talk show for two more years, O’Brien is renewing the production deal for his Conaco Prods banner at TBS sibling Warner Bros TV. O’Brien’s first signed a two-year overall deal with Warner Bros TV in 2010, shortly after the comedian inked a pact with TBS for a late-night show following his exit from NBC. Before that, Conaco had been based at NBC since its launch. In addition to O’Brien’s TBS talk show Conan, Conaco produces another series, Eagleheart, which airs on Turner-owned Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim block. The WME-repped company, which is run by David Kissinger, recently produced TBS comedy pilot BFF and has another comedy pilot, Super Fun Night, in contention at CBS.
Three years after it first signed former NBC late-night talk show host Conan O’Brien, TBS has extended his late-night series Conan through April 2014. “I am excited to continue my run with TBS because they have been fantastic partners,” O’Brien said. “This means I’ll be taping episodes of Conan well into the Ron Paul presidency.” After a huge ratings start, Conan settled into a modest ratings territory, keeping its appeal to younger viewers. In announcing the show’s renewal, TBS touts a recent streak of 3 consecutive months of audience growth. Year-to-date, Conan has averaged 1.1 million viewers, with 407,000 adults 18-34 and 702,000 adults 18-49. “We are proud to be in business with Conan O’Brien for the long run,” said TNT and TBS’ head of programming Michael Wright. “Night after night, Conan and his team have put together terrific shows that draw a young and fiercely loyal audience. As if that weren’t enough, they have also built a dynamic online presence that keeps fans engaged like no other show in late night.” O’Brien has 5 million followers on Twitter, while video clips from Conan logged more than 83 million views in 2011. Last year, the show traveled to New York. In June 2012, Conan will do a week of shows in Chicago. TBS’ relationship goes beyond the talk show. O’Brien’s Warner Bros. TV-based company Conaco recently produced a comedy pilot for the network. Produced by Conaco, Conan is executive … Read More »
CBS has given a pilot green light to Super Fun Night, a multi-camera comedy pilot written by and starring Australian actress-comedian Rebel Wilson (Bridesmaids). The project, from Warner Bros TV and Conan O’Brien’s studio-based Conaco banner, follows three nerdy female friends on their ”funcomfortable” quest to have super fun every Friday night. O’Brien, Jeff Ross and David Kissinger are executive producing, with Wilson co-executive producing.
Despite CBS’ comedy brand being built on multi-camera sitcoms, Super Fun Night is the network’s first multi-camera comedy pilot this season. CBS’ first two half-hour pilot orders went to single-camera projects, both from feature writer-directors: Jon Favreau’s Tweaked and an untitled Nick Stoller project.
The state-of-the-art studio that housed The Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien is getting a new late-night occupant. E!’s Chelsea Lately will move into the space, Studio 1 on the Universal lot, later this year, probably in the fourth quarter. Stage 1, named The Jack Benny Stage, has remained largely vacant since the quick demise of The Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien as Jay Leno, who was brought back as host in March 2010, opted to stay at his old stomping grounds in Burbank.
When plans were announced for O’Brien to take over The Tonight Show, NBC spent a reported $50 million to transform Stage 1 — which housed The Jack Benny Show, the first TV show shot at Universal, as well as the original Knight Rider TV series — into a lavish talk show set custom-made to accommodate comedy skits, a band, and a large studio audience. (Chelsea Lately‘s studio audience is expected to double when the show moves into the new digs.) It is also near huge parking garages and major city thoroughfares.
The announcement, made during an E! luncheon at the TCA winter press tour (sans the Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien connection), comes less than two months after Handler signed a new $25 million deal with E! to continue as host and executive producer of Chelsea … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: TBS has cast up-and-coming comedian Jay Malone and UCB performer David Neher as the 2 leads in the half-hour comedy pilot from Conan O’Brien’s production company. The untitled multi-camera project, referred to as BFF, centers on Mark (Malone), a family man who quits his day job and returns to the neighborhood where he grew up. There, he reunites with his quirky childhood best friend Roland (Neher) who still lives with his parents. The project, from O’Brien’s Conaco Prods. and Warner Horizon, was written by Ben Wexler, who serves as showrunner, Ross Novie and Jay Rondot. The three are executive producing with O’Brien, David Kissinger and Jeff Ross. The Conaco project is one of 3 half-hour pilots at TBS, along with Men at Work and Sullivan & Son. Malone is with Stone Manners Salners and New Wave.
Conan O’Brien dropped in on Late Night‘s Jimmy Fallon last night, making his first live return to NBC since he was Zucker-ed in February 2010. He came by to pick up something he said he “left in the couch” — Triumph The Insult Comic Dog, which he’s contractually forbidden from using on his TBS show, along with some other intellectual property from NBC’s Late Night and The Tonight Show. Free the foul-mouthed pooch!