Conan O'Brien's Might as Well Do This While I'm Not on TV Tour

By Lisa de Moraes
Friday, March 12, 2010; C04

Former "Tonight Show" host Conan O'Brien is hitting the road with a "Nuts to You, NBC!" tour that comes to Washington's DAR Constitution Hall on June 8.

Not coincidentally, his "Tonight Show" sidekick Andy Richter and members of O'Brien's TV band are traveling with him on the two-month How to Improve My Bargaining Position in Fox Late-Night Show Talks tour.

It's Team Coco's way of circumventing his exit deal with NBC, which precludes him from performing on TV for a period of time.

News of the tour -- which, for accuracy's sake, is actually being called the "Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television" tour -- was first reported on Web site the Wrap, complete with the straining-to-be-funny quotes from all parties involved that always seem to accompany these kinds of announcements:

"It was either a massive 30-city tour or start helping out around the house," O'Brien said in his statement.

"If we don't get Conan in front of an audience soon, there's gonna be real trouble," Jeff Ross, O'Brien's "Tonight" and "Late Night" producer, said in his canned quote.

Each tour stop will be a "night of music, comedy, hugging and the occasional awkward silence," the tour promoters added for good measure.

Stop! Stop! I can't breathe!

But enough of the funny stuff. Coco knows when to get down to business:

"I'm headed to your town on a half-[heinied] comedy & music tour," he tweeted Thursday morning. "Go to for tix. I repeat: It's half-[heinied]."

The tour will run from mid-April to mid-June and will include the stop at the 3,700-seat DAR Constitution Hall. Other venues include the Gibson Amphitheater in Universal City, Calif. -- Universal City being owned by NBC Universal, which owns NBC, which owns "The Tonight Show," from which Conan walked away after network suits informed him in January that they wanted to move the show to just after midnight.

Ticket sales were so hot, venues were selling out within hours. In Washington, at press time, there were still some tickets available, though it appeared they were all gone in the cheaper price ranges and at the Meet & Greet Package level, where a mere $696.50 buys you the right to meet Conan and get your picture taken with him.

He'll also play Radio City Music Hall, spitting distance from NBC's corporate HQ at 30 Rock.

Conan's camp is still talking with Fox about whether and how to launch a late-night franchise.

No 'Charity' case

"Blonde Charity Mafia" suddenly doesn't look so bad, does it, CW? Especially now that you've seen the opening numbers on "High Society"?

"High Society" tanked in its premiere Wednesday night, attracting just 1.26 million viewers. That's even fewer than the nearly 1.4 million that tuned in to the unveiling of CW's So-Ashton-Kutcher series "The Beautiful Life" in September. And we all know what happened to that one -- canceled after two episodes.

"High Society" goes into the books as CW's least-watched series premiere this season.

"High Society" was one of the glam reality series picked up early this season that seemed to have caused the network to lose interest in its D.C.-based reality series "Blonde Charity Mafia." .

Betty White's 'SNL'

"Saturday Night Live" has finally booked Betty White to guest host, in response to a Facebook campaign started by a guy who now says he doesn't really watch "Saturday Night Live" very much.

"The six-time Emmy winner and cultural icon will host 'SNL' for the first time in her illustrious seven-decade-long career," NBC announced Thursday.

The guy who started the Facebook campaign, David Mathews, now tells USA Today -- which seems to be trying to take some of the credit for White's "SNL" gig -- that he's "not even a big SNL watcher." Which prompts the question, "Then why did you launch a Facebook campaign to get her on the show?" That question appears not to have been asked by USA Today.

The newspaper did report that White's appearance in a Super Bowl candy commercial, in which she is tackled in the mud by a football player, topped its Ad Meter poll of Super Bowl ads.

That, in turn, lit a fuse on the Facebook campaign, USA Today reports, which caught the eye of "SNL" creator and executive producer Lorne Michaels.

Michaels has booked White on May 8 because it's Mother's Day.

"I can't think of a better way to spend Mother's Day weekend than with Betty White," Michaels said in a prepared statement.

I can: with a mother. White has no children of her own, according to USA Today, but Michaels assured the newspaper: "She's the mother of us all in comedy."


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