After his many playful potshots at Survivor and Big Brother, it's surprising to find late-night comedian Conan O'Brien hitching a ride on the reality TV bandwagon himself. Through his own production comedy, Conoco, the rascally redhead has adapted the British series Lost for us Yanks it debuts tonight at 8 pm/ET on NBC. Other than the obvious reason (read: ch-ching!), what turned O'Brien from a reality hater into a real-deal player?
"I myself am not a big fan of reality television," O'Brien smirked to reporters while out promoting Lost. "For selfish reasons, I think that people should be paid a lot of money to write TV, even if it's bad.
"And then," he added, "someone showed me this tape and it jumped out at me. [Lost] seemed like a very smart reality show it didn't have a lot of gimmicks. It's a very simple idea where you strand people; they don't know where they are and have to find their way home. If it's intelligently done, [it] could be compelling."
Less interesting to O'Brien are the backstabbing schemes and voting off of contestants on other reality games. But maybe that's just him. Quips the comic: "We tried to develop a classy version of one of these shows that didn't prey on people's worst feelings about each other. There's not an element of people trying to screw each other over which may ultimately be the flaw of this program."