Yes! It happened. On last night’s show, Conan O’Brien delivered a same-sex marriage ceremony as he promised. It also marked the host’s final show taped in his triumphant return to New York and his one-year anniversary with TBS.
Would it be somewhat insensitive to immediately assume that this was all for some ratings? It did successfully result in some media reaction. But, almost all embarrassingly resorted to the classic journalistic expression, pushing the envelope.
Go back 42 years ago, there was a little televised marriage between Tiny Tim and Miss Vicki on The Tonight Show that shattered rating records. Weddings have always been a go-to for morning talk shows, especially during those crucial sweeps weeks.
Remember this: same-sex marriage is illegal in California, where the show is normally taped. But things are a little different in the state of New York.
Here’s O’Brien officiating the wedding between the show’s costume designer, Scott Cronick, and his partner, David Gorshe:
TMZ has learned it’s no other than “Nutcracker Lady” Arlene Wagner. Wagner opened the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum in Washington back in 1995 with her husband — was picked to be the first guest on “Conan” … and will be flying to L.A. on Saturday.
The audience was actually able to vote for the first guest using an online poll. Other people in the running included Lady Gaga, Jack Nicholson, Justin Bieber and The Pope.
It’s a couple of days old, but in case you haven’t seen it.
It was recently announced that Conan was nominated for an Emmy. Conan will be going up against “The Colbert Report,” “The Daily Show,” “Real Time With Bill Maher” and “Saturday Night Live” in the Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series category. Jay Leno was not nominated.
Interestingly, Conan’s own people submitted the work for nomination, while NBC submitted Jay for nomination, reports PopEater.
Conan’s new Late Night show starts on TBS in November. TBS has launched a campaign to nominate Conan for an Emmy. If he wins, undoubtedly he is going to make his new bosses at TBS very happy!
With only six months back hosting “The Tonight Show,” the ratings have been very disappointing for Jay Leno, reports Variety. In the second quarter of this year, the average total audience declined from 5 million viewers last year to 4 million viewers. This is also notable considering Jay had a number of high profile guests, including President Barack Obama.
With that being said, Jay is still beating his arch nemesis David Letterman in the ratings. But with Conan O’Brien’s debut at TBS coming soon, and with so much public support for Conan, it maybe Conan O’Brien who has the last laugh.
Conan O’Brien took an unexpected visit to a Vancouver, British Columbia hospital yesterday, reports TMZ.
Conan’s tour manager had to be taken to the hospital after showing “symptoms” (what kind of symptoms we don’t know).
Luckily the new TBS host was in a joking mood with the cameramen, and couldn’t help but comment about the free Canadian healthcare system. “I think they’re gonna take his American Express card … because we’re American.”
Conan O’Brien is coming back to TV, but not with Fox as everyone assumed. No Coco will be heading over to Atlanta based TBS, reports TVGuide.com.
“In three months I’ve gone from network television to Twitter to performing live in theaters, and now I’m headed to basic cable,” O’Brien said in a statement. “My plan is working perfectly.”
O’Brien also tweeted: “The good news: I will be doing a show on TBS starting in November! The bad news: I’ll be playing Rudy on the all new Cosby Show.”
The show is not currently titled but will air Monday-Thursday evenings followed by George Lopez’s “Lopez Tonight.” The program is rumored to debut November at 11/10c after the World Series. Having Conan certainly raises the profile of TBS which is generally considered a second or third string player.
There’s something different about the characters who work in a grocery store on the new TBS sitcom “10 Items or Less.” They’re played by improv actors who, as improv actors are used to, are not given a script. As for the customers; they’re played by real people – the ones that don’t act for a living, who are actually trying to go grocery shopping.
But the show’s creator hopes audiences won’t focus on either detail.
“With all the cutting edge stuff we’re trying to do, all of that is to just be as funny as possible. In the end, forget that it’s improvised, forget that it’s different. It’s going to crack you up,” says John Lehr, who besides creating the show, stars as Leslie Pool.
In “10 Items or Less,” which premieres on TBS Monday at 11 p.m. (10 p.m. central), Leslie returns to his native Ohio to run the Greens & Grains grocery store that he inherited from his father. Leslie is surrounded by a somewhat dysfunctional staff, including a mindless stockboy sidekick; a quirky, soft-spoken customer service rep; and a sexy butcher who hopes to one day to be a stock car driver to Leslie’s arch nemesis, the manager of the Super Value Mart down the street.
Lehr, a comedic writer, monologist and performer, got into the television business by accident. “I was doing this super fast improv show in Chicago. A Fox talent scout, this gorgeous woman, saw us and asked us if we would like to come to Hollywood to do a showcase. We did and that started things for me.”
Throughout this decade, he’s written various pilots for ABC Family and E! Entertainment and acted in shows like “Jesse” and “Once and Again.” It was 2003′s improvised film “Memron,” in which he starred and associate-produced, that won the Audience Choice Award at the 2003 Slamdance Film Festival and got him a meeting with Sony Pictures Television to discuss a project he’s always wanted to do.
“Sony loved it and gave us enough money to make a presentation pilot which was the key move because this kind of thing you can’t explain it, you have to see it,” he said of “10 Items or Less.” “When we took it to networks, the first one was TBS and that was the only place I wanted to go. I’m from Kansas and wanted to do a show that did not have a coast feel. I wanted it to speak to the people I grew up with. TBS covers that part of the country. I grew up watching The SuperStation. We fortunately found two companies in TBS and Sony that really took a gamble on us.
“Our theory was that reality television is so popular for a reason. You gotta listen to the viewers. One of the things that makes reality TV work is that you don’t quite know what is going to happen. So we tried to create that kind of environment by shooting in a grocery store that’s open for business. We have customers coming in and you never know if they are going to interact with you or not. If they do, you just go with it. We write a script that doesn’t have any dialogue and we don’t even show the script to the actors so they just come in and improvise.”
This experimental comedy takes many chances and is refreshing compared to the flat and safe sitcoms. Lehr is trying to change that formula. “We’re going back in time. When ‘I Love Lucy’ and ‘The Honeymooners’ were shot live, they had that fresh feeling to them.”
With his executive-producing partners Robert Hickey and Nancy Hower on the project, Lehr believes that another key to success is creating an environment where everybody has input. “You put people in the best position to be as funny as they can. That’s all we’re doing.”
As for the actors, Lehr says that few people will recognize their faces. “They are all character actors. The show is basically Revenge of The Nerds; these actors finally get to play the lead. They are a weird group of people. They tend to be people who could lead interesting lives, but not the easiest life. After the first 10 minutes of improvising, you kind of run out of all your tricks and preconceived ideas. Then you rely on your subconscious, and improv is basically a therapy tool. It’s what they do to get you to act out your psychodramas. That’s what ends up happening on the set. It’s funny cause it comes from a true place. My character’s relationship with his father mirrors my relationship with my father. Where else is it going to come from? That part of it is really why improv, when used correctly, can lead to fresh comedy because it’s based on something.”
Having real customers in the store is something that Lehr would love to take credit for, but it’s part of the equation because there wasn’t enough money to rent a grocery store.
“My father-in-law does business with a local guy who owns this small chain of grocery stores. My father-in-law got us the gig! The customers don’t care at all. It’s a crazy neighborhood and the Armenian, Persian and Hispanic customers could care less. They just want to get their shopping done. We shoot it like a reality show without the big lights. Real customers come up and ask us where the ketchup is and if we’re rolling, we’ll keep it.”
The project took three years to get to Monday’s premiere night and Lehr couldn’t be happier. He and his partners won all the execs over with their off the beat concept and also have a humble cast and crew.
Lehr’s also excited about the content that he can share online, such as on the show’s web site at greensngrains.com. “As an artist you can get more of your work out there; that’s what I love. We have tons of hilarious footage, we just didn’t have room for it all on TV. It really shows the improv style too.”
Lehr’s final message for potential viewers is that, “we are not doing this show to show people how clever we are. We’re doing it cause we think it’s the funniest way to make comedy.”
More info: tbs.com/shows/10items