Dueling parade coverage

NBC has covered the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for many, many, many years, and is allowed to set up at the Herald Square location in front of the Macy’s store, where various musical numbers and the like are presented while we wait for the parade to arrive.

But a parade, unlike, say, a football game, takes place in public, and you can’t really give any one network exclusive rights to point their cameras at it. CBS used to have what they called the “All-American Thanksgiving Parade,” which would cut back and forth between coverage of the New York parade and several others, some of them pre-recorded. One year, that included a parade of literal floats in the Delta river inside the Opryland Hotel.

I don’t actually know what CBS has been doing in recent years, but this morning they’re covering “The Thanksgiving Day Parade” – they don’t say “Macy’s” in the opening credits or on-screen graphics, because they’re not the authorized, official network and presumably don’t have the rights to use the Macy’s name. The hosts, however, do mention the parade’s sponsor and history.

Because most NBC stations here in the Central Time Zone air the “Today” show on a one-hour tape delay, the parade also gets delayed by an hour. So right now, “Today” is still going on on the local NBC affiliate, but the CBS parade coverage, which I assume to be live, has already begun. The parade hasn’t actually gotten to the CBS broadcast location. Since they don’t have access to the Broadway cast performances at Herald Square, they’re running things like a clip of a musical number from a Broadway show performed in its actual theater, and a clip of Martina McBride performing at the Hard Rock Cafe. They’re also trying to encourage social media interaction.

I’m having a quiet morning here at home – our family celebration will be a late one today, because we can’t get the family together until evening, and because of Dad’s injury. We’ll go to Cracker Barrel in Murfreesboro for our holiday meal. (Things will be even stranger for me next year; I’ll be in Sierra Leone and will miss Thanksgiving altogether.) Hope you have a great day, whatever your situation.

Lopez Tonight

I will have to watch “Lopez Tonight” (for, I admit, the first time) this evening to see George Lopez’s reaction to Conan O’Brien’s announcement today.

Conan’s new TBS show will push “Lopez Tonight” back by an hour. According to Bill Carter of the New York Times, this was originally a deal-breaker for Conan. Conan had been on the wrong end of such an arrangement at NBC, which is why he left, and he — understandably, and to his credit — did not want to do to George Lopez what NBC and Jay Leno had done to him.

But then, Lopez personally called Conan and asked him to accept the arrangement. Lopez probably feels that a 12 Eastern / 11 Central show with Conan as his lead-in will turn out better in the long run than an 11 Eastern / 10 Central show with TBS’s sitcom reruns as a lead-in. I think he’s right, and I think having the two talk shows back to back will be good for both of them.

As I said, I haven’t seen George Lopez’s talk show before, although I’ve seen his standup comedy, and I think he probably likes an atmosphere like TBS where he gets comparatively little interference from network executives and can do his own style of comedy. I think Conan will thrive at TBS for just those same reasons. Conan’s last two weeks at “The Tonight Show” were some of the funniest shows he’s ever done, and it’s because he didn’t have anyone to impress and could just relax and do the show he wanted to do. TBS may give him less of a budget (I wonder if Andy or Max will be there), but I believe he’ll have much more free rein than he did at NBC or than he would have at FOX.

FOX, it is true, has a more free-wheeling approach in general than the three traditional networks, but the network was reported to be bristling at the cost of launching a new late-night talk show and was going to have to please a lot of unhappy affiliate stations from whom it would be forcibly taking an hour of late-night air time. I think FOX would have breathed down Conan’s neck in the same way that NBC did.

Even though Craig Ferguson is on a broadcast network, CBS, he has made the same kind of tradeoff Conan is making. Craig’s show is — as he likes to remind us — run on a low budget, I imagine lower than Conan’s will be at TBS. But the network lets him do his own thing.

‘Wait, Wait’ headed for TV?

Peter Sagal and Tom Bodett have both blogged about the taping of this weekend’s Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me, which was supposed to be a triumphant reprise of a well-attended outdoor show from last year. Instead, it turned into a rain-soaked badge of honor for the faithful few who attended during a downpour. (Sagal even invoked my favorite bit of Shakespeare, the Agincourt speech from Shakespeare’s Henry V.)

I listened to the show this morning, and it is, in fact, a good one.

What neither man blogged about is the possibility that “Wait, Wait” may soon have a TV version.