With Conan O'Brien's exit from NBC all but settled, most industry observers expect him to move to Fox. But would O'Brien really be happy there? The L.A. Times' Patrick Goldstein
says moving to Comedy Central instead would give Conan a sizable
lead-in audience and the much sought after teen to 20-something
If there were ever a perfect setup for O'Brien, it would be Comedy Central, which already has a powerhouse double bill of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Conan would be a great fit following their shows, inheriting a small (by network standards) but intensely loyal audience of viewers primed for his droll, irony-filled comedy routines. The money wouldn't be the same, but I think it would be a liberating, low-pressure experience for O'Brien, who looks like he could use a break from the high-stakes ratings death match of network late-night TV.On top of that, Conan wouldn't have to water down his programming. His edgier blend of comedy could roam free on the cable channel:
Instead of being told to tone down his act and pretend to be an old fogy, as NBC was asking him to do on "The Tonight Show," he could cut loose and get back to his roots, when he was was the most inventive, loose-limbed funnyman on TV. It's time to let Conan be Conan again.