Back when Conan O’Brien was moved on from hosting the NBC Tonight Show, he set up his new TBS talk show Conan and I was disappointed. He had just come off the back of an exciting moment in which he had been performing live to audiences across the US, audiences were vocal in their overwhelming support for the gangly talk show host, and there was so much incredible heat surrounding him - and then he rocked up to his new show and started in with the same tired format he’d been doing for the past 20 years.

  • Monologue
  • Comedy bit
  • First guest
  • Comedy bit
  • Second guest
  • Musical act

The time was right to shake things up, but that didn’t happen.

After years of diminishing ratings in a very crowded late night market, Conan is now shaking things up and I’m legitimately excited to see his show again. Starting next week, he’s ditching the suit and tie, stripping the show back to a 30 minute show, and dumping the band. He has a great piece on the New York Times detailing the changes and where he’s at right now as a performer.

The big thing I wanted to do was pull the audience closer and make it like a cool, fun place to do comedy that you might find in Los Feliz or that the Upright Citizens Brigade might have. I wanted it to have a little bit of that compressed feeling, and I like having the audience right there. It feels less presentational in the old-school way.

Guests for week one:

Wednesday, January 22: Tom Hanks

Wednesday, January 23: The cast of The Good Place starring Kristen Bell, William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil, D’Arcy Carden, and Manny Jacinto

Thursday, January 24: Bill Hader

Monday, January 28: Tig Notaro

Tuesday, January 29: Gina Rodriguez

Wednesday, January 30: Pete Holmes

Thursday, January 31: Matt LeBlanc and comedian Gary Gulman

John Falsey died on 3 January, after complications related to a head injury after a fall in his home. Falsey was the co-creator (alongside Joshua Brand) of the TV drama redefining 80s drama St Elsewhere and the redefining 90s drama Northern Exposure.

This is Falsey on creating St Elsewhere:

Entertainment companies are preparing themselves for a future of autonomous cars. They anticipate that a $200 billion industry will rise with commuters now available to become passive viewers in their cars.

Intel also estimates that the so-called “passenger economy” triggered by automation will eventually free more than 250 million hours of commuting time per year in the world’s most congested cities  alone.

At CES, Warner Bros unveiled a BMW showcasing a 270 degree video allowing autonomous commuters to feel like they are joining Batman on a race across Gotham City:

During the demonstration, passengers were taken on a virtual ride through the caped-crusaders hometown of Gotham City as 270-degree entertainment immerses riders throughout their real-world commute. Upon entering the vehicle, guests experienced in-cabin entertainment while becoming familiar with safety measures in place through five “chapters” beginning with a welcome message from Alfred (who else?) who introduces you to the experience as the city of Gotham passes by in the window as if you were actually driving down its crime-ridden streets.

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Four days ahead of Netflix debuting doco Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened , Hulu dropped its own Fyre Festival doco Fyre Fraud.

Another day, another Star Trek spin-off announced. This time starring Michelle Yeoh.

“Michelle has shattered ceilings, broken boundaries, and astonished us with her grace and gravitas for decades,” Star Trek EP and expansion overlord Alex Kurtzman said in a statement today.”As a human, I adore her. As an actor, I revere her,” he added. “Erika and Boey are remarkable, exciting writers who bring a fresh perspective to the world of Star Trek, and we’re all thrilled to explore the next wild chapter in the life of Captain Philippa Georgiou.”

The latest spinoff is set to focus on a continuation of Yeoh’s Discovery Season 2 adventures in Starfleet’s Section 31 division. The semi-secret and autonomous organization has been a part of Trek lore since it was first introduced in the 1990s on the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine series.

Matthew Rhys will star in the Robert Downey Jr-produced Perry Mason for HBO.

Here’s West Wing star Bradley Whitford giving the most grounded quote you will find regarding a West Wing revival:

Do I think you could come up with a show? Yes. Do I think it’s a good idea? I don’t know. Probably not. You know, we can’t all be working in the White House. That doesn’t make any sense. I guess we could be, I don’t know, political consultants? Actually, it’s not that I don’t think it’s a good idea. I actually think it’s a great idea. But it has to be done perfectly. And Aaron has to want to be there. It’d be interesting to see where everybody is now, but I don’t have any information. When you read an interview of one of us talking about this, it sounds like the gears are in motion, but I don’t think they actually are. There’s nothing we do without Aaron or without his blessing. But, yeah, I’m available.

And finally…

The Simpsons exec producer Matt Selman: