Winter storms started early and kept coming this year and Puxatawney Phil tells us we still have another month to go. But John Oliver is returning to turn up the heat. After a three month hiatus, Last Week Tonight is coming back to HBO this Sunday. As the show starts its fifth season it faces a corporate conundrum. HBO’s parent company, Time Warner, is closer than ever to being bought up by AT&T. It’s been in the works for awhile, and he mentioned the possibility happening last season (go to about 3:25). Clearly John is banking on his Corporate Overlords-In-Waiting to have a good sense of humor. Because mega-conglomerate executives are universally known for their humor.
Makes Me Want To Scream
In an interview this week with the Associated Press, Oliver admitted he was sending a message not only to AT&T but also to his fans, saying “we were drawing a line in the sand.. I don’t anticipate the ground underneath us shifting and if it does, that is going to be a problem. We’ll go down screaming.” He wouldn’t be the only one screaming.. the show in general and John Oliver specifically have developed a huge following over the past four years. It’s a like a more watchable Vice News, both deal with topical stories as well as indepth looks at bigger, less discussed issues. The difference is that after watching Last Week Tonight you don’t want to slit your wrists.
Should AT&T prevail and swallow up HBO, John should also hope they expand his legal budget. LWT doesn’t just examine issues like net nutrality, corporate mergers and “clean” coal, he calls out businesses and individuals by name. That led to a lawsuit that will keep HBO’s house counsel even busier than they already are!
Continuing The Tradition
Of course, poking fun at your parent company is nothing new. David Letterman turned it into an art form at NBC (go to 2:35). Then he did it at CBS (go to 5:55). Actually he’s been doing it since he was a local weathercaster in Indiana (go to :45). Dave always had the last laugh, but it did cost him his dream job, replacing Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show.
Here’s hoping he keeps this world accountable, and hoping his bosses let him do it!
The Critic’s Cocktail Recommendation
A Fallen Angel, with extra bitters!