The classiest anchor in San Diego also happens to be the busiest promoter of Paramount‘s Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. Will Ferrell has appeared as Ron Burgundy in Dodge ads, is getting Emerson College’s journalism school renamed The Ron Burgundy School of Communication (OK, for one day), and even wrote a book that Ferrell as Burgundy promoted last night on Conan. While it can be debated whether Paramount and Farrell are overexposing themselves in the run-up to the film’s December 20 release, he nailed it last night singing the campaign song for “let’s call him embattled” Toronto Mayor Rob Ford – proving that this style of Sacha Baron Cohen-esque marketing can work wonders when it hits the zeitgeist head-on. Check it out:
An old Conan promo that simulated the nails-on-chalkboard sounds of the Emergency Alert System looks have cost TBS $25,000. The Federal Communications Commission this week alerted TBS it is slapping the cable network with a fine in that amount over a 2012 Conan promo it telecast that used the well-known sounds intended to warn viewers of national emergencies.
The FCC — the government agency charged with fining those who misuse the distinctive EAS sounds — has given Turner notice of the fine for “the transmission of false distress signals,” unless it can dissuade the commission within 30 days.
The FCC this past February launched an investigation into a viewer complaint about a 2012 promo for TBS’s Conan O’Brien late-night show. Turner admitted, the FCC said, that it produced and distributed a promotion, for use prior to April 26, 2012, that included a “sound effect” in part derived from an online source, which the network insisted was not part of the actual EAS code, but did include a prerecorded “sound burst” followed by a “bars and tone” sound. Turner “admits that the promotion was not made in connection with an actual national, state or local emergency or authorized test of the EAS,” the FCC said. Turner also argued the promo was produced within such a “tight timeframe” that the production team never submitted it for S&P review. Since May of ’12, all promos for Conan’s show have undergone S&P scrutiny, TBS pledged, according to the FCC.
Turner declined comment on Wednesday.
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.”
Usually Sheldon can be found in a Flash costume. But revealed on Conan was the real setup for the Stephen Hawking episode:
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
His movie may have ultimately been successful in edging The Smurfs for the weekend box-office crown, but Cowboys & Aliens star Harrison Ford still has a lot of rage towards the blue gnomes bottled up and let some of it out on Conan tonight.
Considering how Warner Bros fought me all weekend just because I pointed out that Green Lantern underperformed at the box office, it’s amusing that Time Warner sibling TBS let Conan O’Brien air this on his show Monday:
Two and a Half Men co-star Jon Cryer went on Conan tonight to respond to Charlie Sheen’s recent comments, in which he called him a troll. (Sheen has since issued a “half-apology” or “apol” to his former co-star.) This marks Cryer’s return to Conan. His last appearance on the …
On tonight’s Conan, Two and a Half co-star Jon Cryer talks about how it is working with Men star and tabloid fixture Charlie Sheen: “I’m checking TMZ, as I do every day, to know if I have to go to work at all.” To which Conan responded: “I was there …
UPDATED: It is probably best that Sarah Palin doesn’t hunt at the North Pole. Here is a Holiday-themed video from tonight’s Conan on TBS, which features a chance encounter between the former Vice Presidential candidate and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. But as a commenter pointed out, Jimmy Kimmel did a similar bit on his ABC show 2 weeks ago, on Dec. 7. (Coincidentally, that episode was rebroadcast tonight right after Conan went off the air.) This is actually Kimmel’s second Palin-killing-Rudolph skit. He first tackled the subject in December 2008 with a claymation Palin. Here are Conan and Kimmel’s clips from this month as well as Kimmel’s 2008 video:
On his TBS talk show tonight, Conan O’Brien spoofs the latest Harry Potter movie: