April 5, 2004

It's not our fault you live in a bogus time-zone

Yesterday The New York Times ran an article discussing whether Conan O'Brien would ever get a show in "the coveted 11:30 period, made famous by Jack Paar and Johnny Carson."

When The Chicago Tribune picked up the story from the Times syndicate, the coveted period became "10:30," due to the time difference. Fair enough. But the Trib version actually changed the time in a couple of direct quotes, making it sound as if the most plugged-in people in the TV biz think on Central Time.

Gavin Polone, O'Brien's manager and longtime friend, puts it in the plainest terms. "There's just no question that he's going to be on earlier than 11:30," he says. "He's going to 10:30. It's going to happen."

O'Brien, who turns 41 this year, takes pains to point out the distinctions. "The difference with Dave, which even NBC will admit, is that there was no way Dave could continue to do the job at 11:30 with Jay as the `Tonight' show host, because they were peers. I'm 15 years younger. With me at 11:30, you can still feel there's order in the heavens, somewhat."

I know the paper is trying to avoid confusion, but since the story will be read outside Chicago, and since even Chicagoans know that Conan is on Eastern Time, doesn't this make it more confusing (not to mention journalistically dodgy)? Would it kill you to use [brackets]?

Posted by Daniel Radosh

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