Sorkin, Conan and more NBC nuggets
Miami alum and NBC late-night boss returned to Oxford Sunday with some great TV tidbits, as usual:
--Aaron Sorkin, the Emmy-winning “West Wing” creator and writer, has a 13-episode commitment for fall ’06 to do a behind-the-scenes drama series set in a “Saturday Night Live”-like sketch comedy show. It will be called “Studio 7.” Although the fictional show is set in LA, “in very other way it’s clearly ‘Saturday Night Live,’ “ said Ludwin, who supervises SNL and the Leno, Conan O’Brien and Carson Daly shows.
Think a “Larry Sanders Show” about “SNL.” Or a “Sports Night” look at a network comedy show?
--NBC already “is talking to some people now” about replacing Conan O’Brien, who will take over “The Tonight Show” in 2009. (Leno has 4 more years on “Tonight” in the 5-yr deal he signed a year ago.) The new “Late Night” host probably won’t be announced for two years, said Ludwin, who has been NBC’s vice president over late-night programming since 1989.
Fox made a run at Conan, and ABC (which went after Letterman a few years ago) probably would have too, Ludwin said.
--“The Tonight Show” likely will remain in California under Conan, as it has since Johnny Carson moved from NY in 1972. “It has not be absolutely determined yet, but Conan’s preference and my preference is to do the show in Burbank. It’s easier to get the calibre of stars you need in California,” Lundwin said.
--NBC has been kicking around a “Daily Show”-type infotainment spoof show that could air at 8 p.m. Mon-Fri, Ludwin says. One idea is doing a Mon-Fri spinoff of SNL’s “Weekend Update” faux newscast. NBC Entertainment Prez Kevin Reilly has asked Ludin: “Could you do a ‘Weekend Update’ 8-8:30 pm 5 days a week, and what would that look like?”
It's still all in the talking stage. One worry: If the show bombed, it could damage NBC ratings all 5 nights!