It’ s not just Conan O’Brien who gets the shaft in NBC’s late-night debacle. It’s his entire staff, too.
For four years the Conan staff knew their jobs in New York would end eventually, and they had to make the decision whether to move to Los Angeles.
They did, selling houses and uprooting kids from schools.
Now they’ll have to decide if they should stay or return. My guess is they will try and exit the West Coast and return to the real world. Hollywood, as usual, has turned out to be a fantasy.
“Conan spent most of last weekend with the families and staff,” an insider told me yesterday. “Reassuring them.”
Indeed, much of the negotiating going on between Team Conan and NBC is what to do about all these people.
The only member of the New York team who didn’t join the new show was bandleader Max Weinberg. He stayed with Bruce Springsteen, who went on tour. You can pretty much guess we’ll never see The Boss on “The Tonight Show” again in this lifetime. But of course, Bruce has always been a better fit on David Letterman.
The whole experience no doubt will put a chill through the staff of ABC’s “All My Children.” They were also forced to decide on a move to Los Angeles this winter. Everyone can learn a lesson from this experience: Never trust a network, despite a guarantee. In Hollywood, contracts mean very little.