In a way, Maury Povich and Connie Chung are the perfect people to ask about NBC’s recent late-night woes: They’ve both been axed from NBC Universal (their joint MSNBC show was predictably short-lived), though Povich’s show Maury is still in the family. And Chung has herself been a player in similarly high-profile network wars, having toiled at pretty much every single one. But when we asked them about Conan and Leno’s recent woes, we didn’t expect it to turn into a conversation about Chung’s secret desire: a one-woman show. Nor did we expect her to break into song
What do you think of NBC these days?
Povich: Well, things happen. I think there are so many levels to what’s going on here and I think the only people who are smiling right now is General Electric, because they’re getting out from under and now it’s Comcast’s play.
Chung: I think the other people who are smiling are the agents [laughs].
Do you sympathize with Conan for losing his show because of low ratings?
Chung: I have sympathy for anyone in television.
Povich: We’ve all been there. We’ve all been fired.
Chung: Oh yeah! And it’s not a pretty sight.
Povich: The best thing is, once you’re fired, you know what the bottom is like.
What do you think Conan should do now?
Chung: I think he should start combing his hair differently.
Povich: He can’t. He says he can’t.
Chung: But you know, there’s gotta be a way, because I think that’s gonna make a huge difference on Fox.
Povich: Maybe on Fox he needs a buzz.
Chung: Ya think?
Povich: Or a mohawk.
How do you think Jeff Zucker will fare after this?
Povich: He’s my guy. I’m telling you right now, he’s my guy.
Connie, how do you think he’ll fare?
Povich: He’s her guy, too, because he’s my guy. I love Jeff Zucker. Don’t mess with him. He’s okay. He signs my checks.
Chung: If he would sign a check for me, I’d love him, too. But he hasn’t signed one lately. He hasn’t! Not for me! I want to take home pay, too.
Povich: Everyone’s dumping on him, okay?
Do you think the media has overhyped the whole late-night debacle?
Povich: The media wants a whipping boy. Wow! Haven’t we been there? Haven’t we been doing that in our younger days? Who was whipping, who created whipping boys on Watergate? I wonder who that reporter was.
Chung: I was never the whipper, I was the whippee.
What do you want to see Conan do now?
Povich: Do you know why we’re really here? We’re scouting Connie for a one-woman show.
Chung: [Laughs.] Of course! I’ll start small. I will take whatever Conan turns down.
You can be the new Andy Richter.
Chung: Oh yeah! The new Andy — that’s great! If he’ll take me, he doesn’t have to change his hair.
Povich: Boy, you caved real fast.
Chung: Exactly! I’m just a TV ho.
Povich: Ha! A TV ho!
Thanks so much.
Chung: I just thought of a great opening song for the one-woman show. You know Sugarland? [Sings.] “All I want to dooo-oooooo-oooooo — “
Povich: You’re going to be on YouTube. [Mortified.] Stop this.
Chung: So then she says, “All I want to do is be with you.” I should say, for mine, “All I want to do, is do the news!” No?
Povich: That’s just great.
Chung: He always turns me down!
[Povich physically drags away a singing Chung. Later, Chung approached, on Povich’s orders, and insists that the tape of the singing be deleted. We understood why, and complied.]