SHOWBIZ: Coco Goes Out With His Pimp Hand Strong


[Illustration by ALEX FINE]

ABC NEWS: In the strongest indication yet that Friday indeed will mark Conan O’Brien’s final “Tonight Show,” a list of the booked guests for the rest of this week released Tuesday featured Will Ferrell set to appear Friday. Ferrell, of course, was the first guest on “The Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien” when the show launched June 1. Other big names scheduled for O’Brien’s final week on “Tonight”: Tuesday, January 19: Quentin Tarantino, Paul Bettany and musical guest Spoon; Wednesday, January 20: Adam Sandler, Joel McHale and musical guest Joss Stone; Thursday, January 21: Robin Williams and musical guest Barry Manilow; Friday, January 22: Tom Hanks, Ferrell. MORE

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS:  Conan O’Brien is fighting for cushy severance deals for his “Tonight Show” staff, but NBC says he’s to blame that they’re about to be unemployed. The sticking point in Conan O’Brien’s exit negotiations is just how much severance his crew gets. He is “dug in on that,” said a source familiar with the talks. MORE

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: But the villagers are sharpening pitchforks and lighting their torches in this mess, too, as Conan’s fans prepare to march on coco_thumb_500x782_16769.jpgvarious NBC affiliates nationwide to voice displeasure over the network’s treatment of their favorite pasty redhead. The grassroots protest makes its way to Chicago Monday evening for a 4:30-9 p.m. event outside the NBC5 studios at Pioneer Court, thanks in large part to the 300,000-strong I’m with Coco Facebook page that has sprung up to capture and focus the angst of O’Brien’s masses who love his off-the-wall brand of humor. Protesters carried signs, spray painted their hair orange and wore Conan masks in support of the pale, gangly 6-foot-4-inch host. The group was created by Los Angeles illustrator Mike Mitchell (he made the Conan image up top) who characterizes the push as a protest against bad management by an everyman’s fans. He tells the Trib that this is a chance for like-minded Conan-backers to make their collective voice hear, but acknowledges the long odds. MORE

LOS ANGELES TIMES: All this on top of pro Conan rallies, the Team Coco T-shirts and the ever increasing applause the moment he appears on stage. Indeed, O’Brien has become so universally beloved, you have to wonder where all these fans were hiding during the last seven months as “The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien” opened to mediocre ratings and steadily slid. While it’s touching to hear his fans frantically applaud, as if O’Brien were Tinker Bell and could be saved if only enough of us believed, simply watching the show on a regular basis might have been more effective. O’Brien, of course, is passed all that, joking as he took the stage Wednesday night that he was “just three days away from the biggest drinking binge in history.” MORE

RELATED: O’Brien’s even become the “star” of a Chinese animated video attempt to explain the whole late-night mess. The clip, in which he morphs into the Incredible Hulk, made the rounds on the Internet and pleased O’Brien so much that he decided to air it last night.  MORE

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