Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Conan O’Brien’s Awkward Parting Gift for NBC: An Emmy Nomination

Who knew Hollywood had such a wry sense of humor? But here’s the evidence: The TV industry folks who vote for the Emmy awards have nominated Conan O’Brien for a statuette.

As in Conan O’Brien, the former NBC employee whose brief stint as host of “The Tonight Show” ended badly, and expensively, for the network. It seems to have worked out okay for O’Brien, though–he got a very big severance check, an infusion of online adoration and, eventually, a well-paid gig at Time Warner’s Turner (TWX).

And while it would be a little, um, awkward if O’Brien actually won the Emmy for best “variety, comedy or music series” (he’s up against Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Bill Maher and “Saturday Night Live”), there is some upside for NBC here. The GE (GE) unit is broadcasting the Emmys in late August, and the potential car-crash nature of the award show might bring in some more eyeballs.

Here is where I’d show you a clip of the award-nominated show, but NBC has scrubbed O’Brien off of its site, Hulu and much of Google’s (GOOG) YouTube. So you’ll have to settle for this bit that O’Brien did specifically for YouTube, where he introduces his favorite viral clips.


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work