Thursday, January 15, 2009

Conan O'Brien and Jimmy Fallon talk to TV critics

Conan O'Brien, who is getting ready to move to the 11:35 time slot on June 1, and Jimmy Fallon, whose countdown widget now reads 46 days, 11 hours, 57 minutes and 24 seconds, met the press today at the Television Critics Association tour. The New York Times' Bill Carter reports that Conan isn't upset about Jay Leno's move into the 10 PM time slot:

He said he was aware of the issues that surrounded the decision to give Mr. Leno what may be a “Tonight”-like show every weeknight at 10 p.m., such things as what it might mean for booking top guests. But he noted that guests hardly affect the ratings of late-night shows anymore and he expected to continue to book the people “that I have good chemistry with — I think that’s more important.”

If anything, Mr. O’Brien said, having Mr. Leno on earlier and doing his usual complement of topical jokes “might turn out to be liberating.” He said it may free him to move into more creative comedy areas.

“I think a lot of this is going to be up to me,” Mr. O’Brien said. “If I do a good, funny, fresh ‘Tonight’ show, it won’t matter what anybody else is doing.”
Reporting on Fallon's session, the Associated Press' Lynn Elber said Jimmy Fallon appreciated Craig Ferguson's comments from yesterday's panel.
"I'm up against a really classy guy. I actually sent him a gift basket today with a collection of Sean Connery movies," Fallon said. Both Connery and Ferguson are Scottish.

Fallon said he figures his real competition is the fact that people want to go to sleep after midnight, not watch TV, and his job is to keep them interested and awake.
Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports that Conan will be appearing in a Super Bowl commercial for Bud Light.