Conan the Contrarian
The fight between Conan O'Brien and NBC executives over the network's evening late night schedule would seem to be hardly a digital rhetoric story. After all, this is all about local affiliates, conventional ratings system, and the norms of prime time programming in the traditional one-to-many broadcast model, as the NBC network tries to respond to the perceived failure of comedian Jay Leno in the nightly ten o'clock spot, which has become associated with scripted crime drama not cheap-to-produce talk shows.
However, O'Brien is counting on the power of the fan culture that Henry Jenkins has described in the book Convergence Culture in entering into a stand-off with NBC brass, where he has refused to leave the traditional Tonight Show spot inhabited by Johnny Carson for many years, right after the eleven o'clock local news. In issuing his widely reposted "people of earth" statement, O'Brien has dared NBC to force him to move. Since issuing this refusal, he has also run comedy bits on the Tonight Show that mock NBC's corporate business decisions, including its historic losses on the Winter Olympics.
Now fans of Conan may join one of many Facebook pages, including this one, and have begun to Twitter up a storm with the hashtag #teamconan.
Disclaimer: Okay, I know Conan from college, as a number of incriminating photographs, including this one, demonstrates. But it is still an interesting digital rhetoric story nonetheless.
Labels: big media