January 15, 2010
Top Ten Conan Replacements
Conan is gone! Long live Conan! IMHO, Jay Leno is now damaged goods, especially with the younger, hipper crowd who can't think of anything better to do than watch network news and then The Tonight Show. Since Top Ten lists are a sort of late-night television staple, here is my top ten list of potential hosts for the time slot, whatever NBC now chooses to call it.
#10: Tyra Banks. She's had a daytime show and she always makes me laugh.
#9: Rosie O'Donnell. She's had some talk show experience on her own show and on The View. She's good at stirring up controversy, and when you're trying to attract viewers, the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.
#8: Whoopi Goldberg. She's done it all. She's been successful in so many different media. She can be lively and outspoken but she can also just be a good listener -- like when she tended bar on Star Trek.
#7: Orpah Winfrey. Just say she's not up to it. I dare you!
#5 Dave Chappelle. He'd be great if anyone can find him.
#4 Jon Stewart. We know he's got the Sitzfleisch to get on the air every night, but he might have to be smart and mature more consistently. He can do it, but he may not want to, and a lot of traditional NBC constituencies may be unwilling to stop associating him with liberalism and fart jokes.
#3 Jerry Seinfeld. I think he's the closest thing my generation has to a Johnny Carson. His act is clean and funny, but he's such a perfectionist about his material, it's not clear he can be funny doing bits written by others.
#2 Stephen Colbert. By which I mean Stephen Colbert, the infinitely funny, inventive and talented comedian and not "Stephen Colbert" the Bill O'Reilly parody, although the latter can certainly put in appearances. He's got incredible comedic range -- from the faux gravitas he often engages in on his current show to the absurdist stuff in which he specialized more when he was on The Daily Show.
#1 Ellen DeGeneres. Once again, she's shown that she's got the stamina to do a daily talk show, and after Finding Nemo and hosting the Academy Awards, she would seem to have established her ability to appeal to a national audience that could include people who are not entirely comfortable with her sexuality. If they get uncomfortable, such people can simply close their eyes and pretend they are listening to Dory. It would be a bold move for NBC to pick Ellen, but she's certainly got the talent and the energy that the network needs, and she would come with her own dedicated fan base.
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