Tuned In

Just Call Him Barack O'Brien

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The clip wasn’t available earlier, but also on last night’s Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien, NBC managed to leverage its Inside the White House Special into a presidential plug for Conan: 

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When this clip first started rolling, I figured there must be some kind of sleight-of-hand going on. Right? The producers must have spliced some different videos together, and edited together an Obama comment about Conan Barackrolling style. But no: looks like NBC’s evening news anchor, Brian Williams, actually asked the President of the United States a question to promote the debut of his network’s new late-night host. 

Kinda creepy. But kinda funny. But, yeah, kinda creepy. Apparently we’re all cool with this now? Am I just becoming one of those cranky old journalists? Should I pull the flask of scotch out of my desk drawer and start reminiscing about the good old days? 

[You’ll notice, by the way, that time.com has figured out how to get our blog platform to embed non-YouTube videos—big shout-out to wizard Miral Sattar!—so expect me to go a little Hulu-crazy for a while here.]

Incidentally, in related news, the White House special pulled a respectable 9 million viewers, but more surprisingly for a news special, it was reportedly number one among adults 18 to 34 and 18 to 49. I suspect Barack and Conan have some overlapping demographics. 

Conan’s ratings meanwhile, dropped 30% his second night, but I’m not surprised—a new Tonight Show host’s first night is going to get an awful lot of viewers who don’t usually watch late night. As James Hibberd says, it will be “weeks/months” before we know where he settles in.