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May 19, 2010

Conan at Turner upfront: 'Let's do this!'

Upfronts_blogBy Georg Szalai

A Conan O'Brien video followed by a stage appearance of the late-night comedy star opened the TBS and TNT upfront presentation here Wednesday.

Among other things, O'Brien joked that "the plot of 'Lost' is more plausible" than what happened to him at NBC.

The O"Brien video package started off with a black screen and the words "One month ago." Then the comic was shown lying on the floor surrounded by pizza and beer, with a half-eaten pizza slice on his belly.

The phone rang, and O'Brien picked up. "Hello, job!?...No, there is no Debbie here."

Once he got up, he revealed a big belly and an empty mailbox.

Music starts playing, and it is "All by Myself."

We then see O'Brien jumping on a trampoline in his garden.

Back indoors, a young lady comes up to him and calls for her mom, while O'Brien lets his dog eat peanut butter off his toes.

Another phone call, and O'Brien answers: "Debbie's is not here...my own talk show on TBS? Yes, I'll do it... Am I in shape? Yes, I am."

As faster music starts playing, we see him cutting his beard, working out, taking off his fat suit and even shooting a machine gun.

The video ends with O'Brien telling the camera: "I'm ready, let's do this!"

O'Brien went on to reminisce.

"I realized this morning this is my first time back in New York City since I was here exactly one year ago for the NBC upfront" -- to promote his "25 year run" as head of the "Tonight Show," he quipped.

If anyone knows "what the hell happened four months ago," O'Brien said he'd be in the lobby later. "The plot to 'Lost' is more plausible."

He referenced the whirlwind past year and joked he even briefly served in an undersecretary post in the Obama administration before resigning in scandal and had his own religious cult in Nova Scotia.

After some jokes about his beard, he talked about how he met Turner Entertainment Networks boss Steve Koonin. 

"When I met Steve Koonin on J-Date, we clicked instantly," he said, also quipping about their "raw sexual enthusiasm."

On a more serious note, the deal was "nothing short of exhilarating" for him. 

"I can't wait to go back to having fun on television."

He also said he is learning much on his live tour.

O'Brien then said he is excited to go back to TV though and lauded basic cable. "I don't want to live in a country with less than 6 ESPNs," he joked.

His vision for his TBS show?

Corny jokes and country music, which attract young male demos.

"Steve, thanks for the blank creative check...you fool!," he then said to Koonin.

He finished his stage appearance with a rendition of "On The Road Again" that soon turned the lyrics to "My Own Show Again."

Among various lines, O'Brien sang that he wants his own show again even if it is at 10 p.m. or on women's network Oxygen, for which he would be willing to get a sex change. And he quipped that he wants a show again, so he can interview Megan Fox again.

Big applause followed O'Brien off the stage.

Koonin later also referenced O'Brien in joking that he needed to thank an NBC employee for two great programming additions: O'Brien (Jay Leno's photo came up on a screen behind him right then) and "Southland."

George Lopez in his appearance later also talked about O'Brien. He said he feels his late-night move that will see him start work an hour later and still get the same pay is a Latino's dream come true.

And in an "I Love Lucy" reference, he said that decades ago, a redhead and a Latino made TV history. "This fall, Coco and Loco will do it again," Lopez told the upfront crowd.


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