Coco's back (11 p.m., TBS), and the world of late-night TV is about to become a better, brighter place. But as Conan O'Brien's seven-month stint as host of "The Tonight Show" established, sure bets don't exist in this medium.
"I'm sure ['Tonight'] wasn't where we wanted it to be at the end of the day. And that's the same with this show as well. It's evolving, which is why [the networks] can't make a decision about one of these shows after six months."
Here are some ideas to help with the transition to - as O'Brien wryly refers to his new perch - "basic cable":
1. Lose the beard. Beards scare young children, elderly ladies and certain breeds of dog. No reason to limit your audience.
2. Hit the road. Road shows, as summer's Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television Tour established, adds energy and spontaneity; it's almost like hitting a refresh button. (Recall the trip to, of all places, Finland.) Everything feels a little . . . more . . . alive.
3. Indulge your Conanesque preoccupations. That means bears, robots and Lincolns. Robots especially. There simply aren't enough robots on late-night TV.
4. Play that gee-tar, just NOT too much. If fans really want to see you play, they'll go to next year's Bonnaroo Music Festival. To laugh, they'll come to your new TBS show.
5. Bring back 'Late Night' classics. Let's see "Clutch Cargo" and absolutely, positively Triumph, the Comic Insult Dog. (I know, NBC may own the rights, but you never know.) What about Joel Godard, your longtime announcer? Surely NBC doesn't own the rights to him. Loyal fans will love the nostalgic touches, and expect them.
6. Have fun. The immediate past is truly past. Forget about it; your fans already have. Make this the funniest show on late-night TV. That will be the ultimate revenge.