UPDATE: In a pre-launch stunt, Conan O’Brien’s team has started a poll to determine who the first guest on O’Brien’s TBS show will be. Fans can chose among 12 potential guests ranging from Pope Benedict XVI and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber to such obscure choices as the curator of Nutcracker museum in Oregon and the 2007 Nobel Prize in Chemistry winner. For those who thought the poll might be for real (BTW, Jack Nicholson, who has not appeared on a talk show in almost 30 years, is firmly in the lead with more than 1,600 votes), here is a disclaimer: “None of these people have actually been booked on our show. For one reason or another, we haven’t contacted any of these people – In fact, we’re kind of hoping that, if someone on this poll starts getting a lot of votes, these folks will actually feel a bit guilty and will agree to be our first guest!!”
PREVIOUS: The house band on Conan O’Brien’s upcoming TBS talk show will be called The Basic Cable Band. Traditionally, late-night show bands carry the name of the show they play on, and, while he was the host of The Tonight Show, Conan’s band was called The Tonight Show Band (though he already broke tradition on Late Night where he was accompanied by The Max Weinberg 7). The Basic Cable Band has a nice, off-beat ring to it, and Conan might have felt uncomfortable with a band carrying his name as that’s the name of his TBS show, Conan. Following the recent departure of Conan’s long-time band leader Max Weinberg, Jimmy Vivino, former associate music director, arranger, guitarist and vocalist for The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien and Late Night with Conan O’Brien, has been officially named new band leader. He will be joined with returning band members Scott Healy (keyboards); Mike Merritt (bass); Mark Pender (trumpet); Richie “LaBamba” Rosenberg (trombone); Jerry Vivino (saxophone, woodwinds and vocals); and James Wormworth (drums). Conan debuts Nov. 8.