Surprising news broke today that Conan O’Brien’s show will be moving to cable’s TBS. A lot of people, including myself, were shocked by this, especially since news broke late last week that negotiations with Fox and Conan were moving along smoothly and that his tour would be Conan’s way of wooing the affiliates in the major markets. I thought that Fox would for sure be the new home for O’Brien for sure. One reason why this is so surprising is because Conan is going from the premiere late night gig to basic cable. Many people see this as a step down. It might be, but here is why I think it is a better move for Conan than a move to Fox would be.

Many Fox affiliates around the country air shows like The Office and The Simpson in syndication during the time slot that Conan was going after, 11PM EST. Those syndicated shows bring in a lot of revenue for the local affiliates, so they are obviously reluctant to put Conan on, especially when many see his stint on The Tonight Show as a failure. Now, we can argue on whether or not he really was a failure or if that blame should be handed to NBC, but that’s not what this article is about. Even if the affiliates did decide to air Conan’s show there might not be a guarantee that it would air at 11PM. Affiliates will always do what generates them more money. My local CBS affiliate does not air Craig Ferguson’s late night show right after Letterman. Access Hollywood or some other celebrity gossip show airs, pushing back Ferguson’s show by half an hour. I could see many Fox affiliates doing the same thing. Remember, it was the complaining by affiliates about the awful Jay Leno show that made NBC cancel it.

You also have to look at the fact that virtually every home in America now has TBS. There is less of a distinction between network television and basic cable these days. In fact, basic cable is, in my opinion, creating some of the best shows on television. I read somewhere recently, and unfortunately can’t find it now, that only about 60% of Fox affiliates were willing to air the Conan show at 11pm. Conan really would be reaching more possible viewers with his TBS deal. I also think a deal with a basic cable station will relieve some of the pressure to perform well. Cable seems to give shows more creative freedom and longer grace periods in order to grow. Let’s not forget that, according to TBS, the average age of its viewers is 33. That’s a lot lower than the major networks (in fact Leno’s average viewer age went above Letterman’s 54 to 56 since Leno retook the reigns). That will definitely appeal to advertisers looking to capture the younger market.

After hearing about the move I was definitely shocked and thought it was kind of a mistake. The more I think about it the more it makes sense for Conan. I think we all need to stop thinking about television the way we always have. Television is changing just as quick as all other forms of media. I think Conan’s move will be the next big move to take viewers further away from “traditional” television. I just hope TBS capitalizes on it.

EDIT: I also think that the whole situation with NBC has damaged the Tonight Show brand so going from The Tonight Show to cable isn’t really that big of a step. The Tonight Show was once iconic, but with the two fiascos, both involving NBC and Jay Leno, it isn’t what it used to be.

For my birthday I asked for Best Buy gift cards because I really wanted to get a Universal remote to control my new TV, receiver, and PS3. I decided to get the Harmony One from Logitech. I got it and set it up last night and I have to say it is an awesome remote. It is so nice not needing 4 or 5 different remotes to control everything.

The setup of the remote was a breeze. You add your device by type, make, and model number then answer some quick questions and the software does the rest. I didn’t have to input a single code. It asks you what device operates on what port and asks whether or not the device uses TV audio or receiver audio. You then plug it into your computer via USB and it transfers all the settings to the remote. One of the best features is a feature called Action Buttons. There is a button on the touch screen that simply says Watch TV. Press it and it turns on the U-Verse box, the TV, and the receiver and makes sure all devices are on their proper settings. If I decide I want to watch a DVD, I press Watch Movie and it turns off U-Verse, switches the receiver to BD (Blu-Ray) and turns on the PS3 (needed a PS3 accessory for this functionality). The same goes for the Play Game button.

From what I’ve seen so far, all the functionality of the other remotes is still intact with the Harmony One. That was one of my biggest worries as most universal remotes I’ve dealt with in the past have lacked essential functionality from one device or another. I also plan on setting up some more buttons, such as Play Music, as well as adding my iMac to the remote device list. I also need to set up my favorite channels on the remote. Once those are added they will display on the touchscreen portion and I can just touch which channel I want instead of dialing it in. On top of all these other great features, it is a rechargeable remote so I don’t need to worry about always having double A batteries on hand anymore. Can’t wait to see what else I can do with it.

I have way too many DVDs. They take up shelves and books and, in this day and age, a horrible way to store media. Ever since I got the ability to stream video files to my PS3 I’ve preferred to have digital copies of my favorite TV shows and/or movies. I don’t have to worry about finding DVDs, making sure they aren’t scratched, or putting them away when I’m finished. I use my remote control and watch the video files like I would watch something on TV or my DVR. It’s not all great though. I have run into an issue: The Entertainment Industry.

Why is it that I can buy DVD versions of the same TV shows that are found on iTunes for LESS than what they cost on iTunes? This makes no sense to me and goes to show that the movie/TV industry is living in the past and going to run into the same issues that the recording industry ran into. With digital downloads you don’t have the cost of producing the discs or the packaging. So they are saving money there. Yet, for some reason, they feel the need to charge more for a digital file. I think this has to be the one of the things that has held back technology such as set-top media centers and AppleTV. I really think that the entertainment industry needs to come up with new ideas and stop living in the past, especially if they want people to stop pirating their products and purchase them instead. $50+ for a single TV season download? Thanks, but no thanks. You’ll just have to live without my (and the increasing number of disgruntled consumers) business.

Since I no longer own the domain (thanks Conan!) I thought I’d post this news here.

Now the latest numbers are out for “The Tonight Show” and they show Jay Leno winning the latest late-night battle while struggling when compared with longer-term views.

“Tonight Show” (4.4 million viewers, 1.2 adults 18-49 rating) led late-night last week among total viewers and the adult demo, compared with CBS’ “Late Show” (3.8 million, 1.0). That’s the good news for NBC and, truth be told, the most important news.

Then there’s all those nattering comparisons which pee in NBC’s breakfast cereal.

For the past couple weeks, Leno is down from comparable weeks last year, off by 13% in the demo and 3% in viewers. This week his median age is older than Letterman’s (56 for Leno; 54 for Letterman and, for the curious, Conan O’Brien averaged 46). Leno is barely topping Conan O’Brien’s average hosting “Tonight Show” (1.1) — and O’Brien had a far inferior lead-in (The Leno Show Which Shall Not Be Named).

So Leno is doing about the same demo rating as O’Brien only with a better lead-in and a decade older audience… The Hollywood Reporter

A few things to point out about these numbers, and the situation in general. NBC knew that Conan would be drawing less viewers when they agreed to let him take over. They also knew that his audience is considerably younger than Leno’s. That was kind of the trade-off, after all, the younger demographic is the most sought-after group in terms of advertisers. When you look back at Conan’s numbers, they were on par of what was expected demographic-wise. They might not have been as high as NBC would have liked, but as THR points out, Conan had a horrible lead-in. Viewers and critics alike hated The Jay Leno Show. In every sense of the word, it was a failure. If Conan was still hosting, without Jay as the lead-in, his numbers would have undoubtedly improved. They didn’t give him time. I hope the numbers continue to get worse for NBC/Leno, and if Conan competes in the same time slot, I think they will. I think NBC is going to eventually regret the stupid decisions they’ve made and I hope it’s sooner than later.

I would also like to point out that I’m still boycotting NBC. I find alternative ways to view the few NBC shows that I enjoy, but have not watched a single live program on the network (Note: I still watch the far-superior programming on USA Network, a subsidiary of NBC Universal).

Yesterday I bought a new TV from Best Buy. It is a Samsung 46 inch LED LCD TV and it is completely awesome. The thing that wasn’t awesome was the buying experience.

I purchased the TV (with a Sony Bravio soundbar and some HDMI cables) online and for in store pickup. My coworker, Mike, has a truck so we were going to pick the items up at lunch and take them back to my apartment. I get an email shortly after 9:00 AM telling me my order was ready for pickup. At 11:30 we decided to head on over to pick it up. Of course, they didn’t have the order together, even though the email stated it was ready. 20 minutes after arriving to the store they start bringing the order to the front. There is no reason that should have taken that long, especially for an order that was supposed to have been ready by now. Oh well, I have my new TV, time to get it home. We take the TV to my apartment (20 minute drive from the Best Buy that actually had the TV) and take it out of the box and begin to put it on the included TV stand. This is when problem number 2 arose. The screws that were supposed to be included to attach the TV to the stand, weren’t. Not Best Buy’s fault, but annoying that I’d have to make another trip somewhere to get screws.

We decided to head back to the office when we noticed something wasn’t right. Looking at the TV it looked a bit small. We looked at the box, and sure enough, it’s a 40 inch TV. Now, I know I should have looked at the box carefully before we left Best Buy, but come on. It’s their job to hand over the correct product. The box was quite large so I assumed it was the correct TV. At this point I am extremely pissed. I call Best Buy and they tell me they will call me back. They have to verify that I do indeed have the wrong TV. They need to count their inventory to make sure I’m not a liar. About 5 minutes later they call back telling me that I do have the wrong TV (thanks for confirming what I already knew!) and that I can bring in the wrong TV and exchange it. I told them this would not be possible and that we came in over our lunch break and I would not have access to a truck. They need to deliver the new TV and pick up the old one or lose out on a sale. They were going to have to call me back. 15 minutes later they call back saying they can send someone out to deliver and set up the right TV and pick up the wrong one. They wanted to come right away but I explained I was at work and wouldn’t be home until after 5:00 PM. They said they would have to call me back. Again. They do call me back and confirm that an associate will be at my house around 5:00 for the delivery and hookup. Long story short (too late) he gets there around 6:30 and I’m hooked up and playing Heavy Rain on my PS3 by 8:00 (I had to run an errand in between hook-up time and TV enjoyment time).

I’ve long heard horror stories about Best Buy on The Consumerist and was expecting my story to wind up there. Fortunately, this wasn’t one. Yes, it was something should have never happened. Yes, it was an inconvenience to everyone involved. The bottom line is that Best Buy did everything they could to make it right and keep me a happy customer. All in all, the story wound up with a happy ending.