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February 21, 2015

Harris Wittels, Parks and Recreation executive producer, found dead aged 30

Harris Wittels, Parks and Recreation executive producer, found dead aged 30

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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Television
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Harris Wittels, an executive producer on the comedy television series Parks and Recreation, has been found dead. The 30-year-old was found unresponsive at his home in Los Angeles by his assistant on Thursday. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Police have announced they are investigating the possibility of a drug overdose.

Wittels had a history of drug abuse and spoke openly about his addiction and treatment in drug rehabilitation centers. As well as working as a producer he was also a writer, musician, and stand-up comedian. He performed a stand-up set in Hollywood the night before his death.

Wittels, from Texas, started work on Parks and Recreation as a writer before being promoted to producer and eventually executive producer. Parks and Recreation is in its seventh and final season. The last episode is due to be broadcast on NBC next week.

His other working credits include work on The Sarah Silverman Show and Eastbound and Down. He authored a book, Humblebrag: The Art of False Modesty, which came from a phrase he coined on Twitter. #humblebrag was used as a term to describe the art of false modesty.

Tributes have come from across the world of television and comedy. Sarah Silverman called Wittels her “baby”. She said on Twitter “You should know that Harris was brilliant beyond compare. That his imagination was without limit. That he loved comedy more than anything”.

Parks and Recreation actress Amy Poehler said at a Variety event where she was being honored “I don’t really feel like telling any jokes. Today, I lost a friend. I lost a dear, young friend in my life who was struggling with addiction.”

Fans of Wittels also paid tribute to him. Posting on culture website The AV Club, one fan wrote “I don’t mean to belittle what those who knew him are going through at all, I know how I feel is nothing compared to what they’re dealing with, but it does feel like I lost a friend.” Another posted “Been sitting here crying since I found out an hour ago. Just unbelievably awful. Said this elsewhere but I genuinely feel like I lost a friend, don’t care how lame that sounds. RIP Harris.”

An official cause of death will not be known until results are released by the Los Angeles County coroner’s office.



Related news

  • “Paul Schneider leaving NBC’s Parks and Recreation; Rob Lowe, Adam Scott to appear in series” — Wikinews, March 15, 2010

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November 9, 2010

US TV: Jay Leno bested by Conan O\’Brien in late night ratings

US TV: Jay Leno bested by Conan O’Brien in late night ratings

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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Television
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Television audience ratings for U.S. TV host Conan O’Brien‘s first TBS program Conan last night were higher than rival Jay Leno and his late night program on NBC, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. O’Brien’s ratings were also higher than CBS network’s David Letterman, as well as Comedy Central programs hosted by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

Conan O’Brien in 2007
Image: John J. Kruzel/American Forces Press Service.

Monday marked O’Brien’s return to late night television after his departure as host of The Tonight Show on NBC following a dispute this year, in which Leno’s program The Jay Leno Show was canceled after poor ratings, and NBC reinstated Leno as host of The Tonight Show.

Cquote1.svg Conan O’Brien is enjoying a sweet, sweet victory in the ratings. Cquote2.svg

The Hollywood Reporter

O’Brien’s debut program featured guests including curator Arlene Wagner of the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum, actor Seth Rogen and actress Lea Michele. His guest schedule for Tuesday night’s program included actors Tom Hanks and Jack McBrayer, in addition to music from the group Soundgarden.

The premiere of Conan was watched by over 4.1 million viewers. Nielsen ratings data made public today showed that Leno’s program The Tonight Show was only watched by 3.5 million viewers, and Letterman’s Late Show was seen by 3.4 million people. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report were watched by 1.3 million and 1 million viewers, respectively.

O’Brien announced his move to TBS, a cable channel founded by Ted Turner and owned by Time Warner, in April.

O’Brien’s viewership trended towards younger people, with 2,451,000 individuals ranges from ages 18 to 34 – and 3,285,000 people in the 18 to 49 age demographic. Leno’s The Tonight Show, in comparison, only drew in 950,000 people in the same younger demographic breakdown.

In an analysis of O’Brien’s ratings win, Dave Itzkoff of The New York Times wrote, “the debut of ‘Conan,’ the new late-night show starring Conan O’Brien, got off to a strong start”. James Hibberd commented for The Hollywood Reporter, “Conan O’Brien is enjoying a sweet, sweet victory in the ratings.”



Related news

  • “US TV host Conan O’Brien leads in late night ratings” — Wikinews, January 17, 2010
  • “US TV host Conan O’Brien rejects NBC’s offer to switch his show’s time slot” — Wikinews, January 13, 2010

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  • Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg Conan O’Brien
  • Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg The Tonight Show host and timeslot conflict

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January 21, 2010

TV host Conan O\’Brien accepts US$45 million settlement with NBC

TV host Conan O’Brien accepts US$45 million settlement with NBC

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Conan O’Brien in 2007
Image: John J. Kruzel/American Forces Press Service.

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After a long night of negotiations, United States television personality and seven-month host of The Tonight Show Conan O’Brien and his network, NBC, have reached a deal that would buy out the contracts of O’Brien and his staff for US$45 million and reinstate Jay Leno as the show’s host starting March 1, O’Brien’s manager told media on Thursday. In this agreement, O’Brien will walk away with more than $33 million. The rest will be distributed to his staff of over 200 people as severance payments.

His manager went on to say that Friday will be O’Brien’s last night serving as host. O’Brien reportedly plans to have an official farewell show with Tom Hanks and Will Ferrell as guests, and with Canadian rock singer Neil Young as the closing musical performance.

As pertains to O’Brien’s next move, ABC has said that it is not interested in hiring him. Fox, on the other hand, which lacks a late-night talk show, expressed “appreciation” for O’Brien’s abilities—but for now nothing more. Comedy Central has also been mentioned as a possible new network home for O’Brien.

When asked about the issue by the Associated Press, a spokesman for O’Brien said he was currently “unavailable” to comment.



Related news

  • “US TV host Conan O’Brien leads in late night ratings” — Wikinews, January 17, 2010
  • “US TV host Conan O’Brien rejects NBC’s offer to switch his show’s time slot” — Wikinews, January 13, 2010

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January 17, 2010

US TV host Conan O\’Brien leads in late night ratings

US TV host Conan O’Brien leads in late night ratings

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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Television
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Television ratings for Conan O’Brien’s NBC program The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien have risen dramatically amidst controversy and the possibility that the host might leave the network. Nielsen ratings as of Friday showed that O’Brien’s ratings were higher than CBS network’s David Letterman. O’Brien also beat out Jay Leno’s prime-time program, The Jay Leno Show, in the 18-to-49-year-old demographic.

Conan O’Brien in 2007
Image: John J. Kruzel/American Forces Press Service.

According to the Nielsen data, O’Brien’s ratings saw a 50 percent increase over prior numbers for the season. NBC utilizes data from the 18-to-49-year-old demographic in order to determine what prices to set for advertising.

On Saturday, NBC was continuing to hold settlement discussions in order to allow The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien host to leave the network and replace O’Brien in the 11:35 p.m. EST time slot with former host of The Tonight Show, Jay Leno.

Cquote1.svg People who never watched Conan before are saying, ‘I’ll try it.’ Now they’re saying, ‘this is good, I’ll stick with it.'” Cquote2.svg

—Gavin Polone

O’Brien’s manager, Gavin Polone, spoke positively of the ratings increase, “People who never watched Conan before are saying, ‘I’ll try it.’ Now they’re saying, ‘this is good, I’ll stick with it.'”

Polone emphasized in a statement that O’Brien paid his own writers during the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike and was attempting to have a say with regard to the severance packages of his employees. He noted that many of O’Brien’s staff members moved from New York to California when the TV host began working on The Tonight Show.

Representatives for O’Brien cite poor ratings of Leno’s prime-time program The Jay Leno Show, and subsequent poor ratings of NBC late local news, as having an effect on ratings of The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien prior to the recent controversy.

The late night hosts have been discussing the recent NBC time slot controversy via jokes on their shows. O’Brien showed a skit where he had to dodge gunfire while attempting to go to work on the NBC lot. Leno made a joke referencing a statement from last year where Letterman admitted he had had affairs with women on his staff. “Even Dave Letterman is taking shots at me, which surprised me. Usually he’s just taking shots at the interns,” said Leno.

Bill Carter of The New York Times commented that O’Brien, “has turned the attention surrounding his departure into a ratings bonanza.” New York Daily News noted, “Well, at least he’s going out on top,” and commented, “… all eyes are on him now”.



Related news

  • “US TV host Conan O’Brien rejects NBC’s offer to switch his show’s time slot” — Wikinews, January 13, 2010

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Wikipedia Learn more about Conan O’Brien and The Tonight Show host and timeslot conflict on Wikipedia.
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January 13, 2010

US TV host Conan O\’Brien rejects NBC\’s offer to switch his show\’s time slot

US TV host Conan O’Brien rejects NBC’s offer to switch his show’s time slot

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Conan O’Brien in 2007
Image: John J. Kruzel/American Forces Press Service.

File:Elizabeth and John Edwards by The Tonight Show.jpg
Jay Leno hosting The Tonight Show with guests John & Elizabeth Edwards (2007)

On Tuesday, United States television personality Conan O’Brien announced in a statement that he will no longer serve as the host for NBC’s The Tonight Show if the network’s attempt to move his program to the post-midnight time slot comes to fruition.

This move, NBC has said, would be done to accommodate the return of the previous Tonight Show host, Jay Leno, back to late-night from his current prime-time slot.

In a long statement to the media, O’Brien states that NBC has given him a “scant” seven months to establish himself as host of The Tonight Show.

He continues to say that with his show still in “its infancy, NBC has decided to react to their terrible difficulties in prime-time by making a change in their long-established late night schedule.”

O’Brien adamantly declares that “delaying The Tonight Show into the next day to accommodate another comedy program will seriously damage what I consider to be the greatest franchise in the history of broadcasting.”

Citing his view that NBC’s purposed switch of The Tonight Show time slot could lead to the show’s ultimate “destruction,” O’Brien maintains that he would have no other choice than to step down as host—which could also include his possible move to another cable network—if this does in fact happen.



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September 3, 2007

Fred Thompson to make Presidential announcement on The Tonight Show

Fred Thompson to make Presidential announcement on The Tonight Show

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Monday, September 3, 2007

Fred Thompson

Republican Fred Thompson is expected to make his US Presidential bid announcement on Jay Leno’s The Tonight Show on Wednesday, September 5th. The appearance will mean Thompson will miss the September 4 Republican debate in New Hampshire.

Thompson’s adviser Mary Matalin, appearing Sunday’s Meet The Press, said the decision was made because Leno had more people watching than the debates noting, “This is a message-driven campaign, and we want to drive people, and the biggest place to do that was Jay Leno.”

Expectations are high for Thompson supporters even though his image was “tarnished by Watergate.” While critics think Thompson waited too long declare his intentions, supporters think it will be an advantage.

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This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

April 18, 2007

Virginia Tech gunman sent package to NBC

Virginia Tech gunman sent package to NBC

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

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According to police, Cho Seung-hui, the gunman who killed 33 people including himself on Monday at Virginia Tech., sent a package containing pictures and video to NBC, in between the first and second shootings at the campus. The package was timestamped by the United States Postal Service at 9:01 a.m., just under 30 minutes before the second shooting.

“This may be a very new, critical component of this investigation. We’re in the process right now of attempting to analyze and evaluate its worth,” said superintendent of Virginia State Police Colonel Steve Flaherty.

The package, which contained a DVD, allegedly contained “rants against rich people” and “warns that he wants to get even”.

“[The package contained a] rambling, manifesto-like statement embedded with a series of photographs” and the material was “hard-to-follow … disturbing, very disturbing — very angry, profanity-laced,” said Steve Capus, the president of NBC News.

At least 23 videos are reported to be inside the package, in a QuickTime format, where Cho speaks about religion and how he hates rich people. No specific names were mentioned in the video. The pictures of Cho show him holding both guns believed to have been used in the shootings, and in some cases he is leaning against a white wall. There are also pictures of him showing hollowed out bullets and holding a knife. It is not known where the pictures or videos were taken.

No images of the either of the two shootings were inside the package, but it did include “vague references” to the shootings and asserted that “things like this didn’t have to happen,” added Capus, who also said that the package had an incorrect address and ZIP code.

All of the material that Cho sent to NBC was immediately handed over to the FBI by NBC security guards wearing gloves for further analysis.

NBC plans to air some of the material on NBC Nightly News on Friday. However, the video is also being discussed on NBC’s 24-hour news channel, MSNBC.

Related News

  • “Virginia Tech shooter identified, witness reports emerge” — Wikinews, April 17, 2007
  • “33 dead, 15 injured in Virginia Tech shootings” — Wikinews, April 16, 2007

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This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

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