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Conan O’Brien Signs Off After 20 Years With NBC

01.25.10   |   Posted in: Art & Design   |   By: Toshi Jones
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Beloved late-night host Conan O’Brien called it quits Friday after a tumultuous legal battle with NBC. An agreement was reached late Thursday just one day prior to the final episode of The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien. Much of the media coverage surrounding Conan’s departure questions the loyalty of his fan base. While fans came out in droves to support Conan in his last weeks, his ratings floundered when compared to those of his predecessor.

What has not been addressed was the clear absence of Conan’s most popular material after assuming The Tonight Show. Some of the more risque characters like the Masturbating Bear and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog were scarcely aired if not scrapped completely. It was precisely this type of humor that attracted millions of young viewers in key demographics and ultimately landed Conan the Tonight Show gig. As loyal viewers realized that the show had been tamed, (apparently in an effort to attract an older audience) they retreated. When it became obvious to Conan and his staff that the show would end, they opened the flood gates bringing back classic sketches and some of the most offensive characters in an effort to push NBC to its tipping point. And fans responded by tuning in to see some of their favorites one last time.

The very last Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien featured Tom Hanks, Neil Young and concluded with Will Farrell paying homage to the great Lynyrd Skynyrd in a star studded rendition of Free Bird. Farrell in prime form showed a little PDA with his wife, a very pregnant, Viveca Paulin. Ben Harper, Beck, Max Weinberg, La Bamba, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons and others from the Tonight Show band joined Conan on guitar in one of the most joyous farewell bids in television history.

While we will miss Conan for the next seven months, we anxiously anticipate his resurgence.

Click here to view the last episode of The Tonight Show with Conan O’brien.



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