Entertainment behind the scenes
NBC has suffered terrible press of late from the forced departure of late-night host Conan O’Brien, but at the Screen Actors Guild Awards on Saturday, the network got a big wet kiss from “30 Rock” star Tina Fey.
After taking the stage to claim her award for best actress in a TV comedy, Fey had nothing but good things to say about the network behind her show, even though “30 Rock” is itself no stranger to spoofing NBC.
“I just want to take a moment to say to everyone at NBC, we are very happy with everything and happy to be there,” Fey deadpanned, as the audience laughed.
It was more than just a joke, as the awards-laden “30 Rock” has in the past struggled to survive on NBC due to lackluster ratings. But in the wake of one of the biggest public relations disasters in the last-placed network’s history, during which O’Brien and other comedians lambasted NBC, Fey got some laughs for going the reverse route.
Conan O'Brien could well be headed to Fox after making it clear to NBC that he will not go graciously into the later night. But a channel-changing question that is making the rounds has more to do with what the drama unfolding between O'Brien and former Tonight Show host Jay Leno says about NBC and its agreed joint venture with Comcast. If nothing else, the lack of replacement programming for the slot Leno is vacating, and the purported profitability NBC still enjoyed by having a cheaper, single-star variety show in a traditionally pricey prime-time slot, raise an obvious question -- why the rush?
John Hudson at the AtlanticWire does a nice job of collecting some thoughts on pressure that was probably building from Comcast, from angry affiliates who wanted Leno and his show's crummy ratings out of that vital pre-news slot, to improving PR.