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Conan O'Brien, Taiwan studio in Web-video 'feud'

Next Media Animation, a Taiwanese studio, produced a parody video about Conan O'Brien's return to TV.
Next Media Animation, a Taiwanese studio, produced a parody video about Conan O'Brien's return to TV.
  • Next Media Animation parodies Conan O'Brien's return to television with an animated video
  • O'Brien answers with his own animation spoof, so Next Media mocks his show again
  • O'Brien says he'll fire back, but only has one animator

Editor's note: Damon Brown is a Northern California-based freelance writer and author of books, including "Damon Brown's Simple Guide to the iPad" and "The Complete Idiot's Guide To Memes," about why certain things go viral online.

(CNN) -- Who will fire the next salvo in the ongoing friendly feud between TV host Conan O'Brien and Next Media Animation, the Taiwan-based animation studio known for its sarcastic CGI re-enactments of American news?

It all started in November when Next Media marked O'Brien's debut on cable channel TBS with an animated clip poking fun at his awkward exit from NBC earlier this year. (TBS is owned by Time Warner, which also owns CNN.)

This was nothing unusual, as Next Media already had produced videos spoofing Apple's iPhone 4 antenna problems and JetBlue's escapee flight attendant Steven Slater.

But this time O'Brien responded with a tongue-in-cheek parody of Next Media Animation, complete with exaggerated characters and cheesy visuals.

It didn't stop there. Within 48 hours, Next Media Animation answered the comedian's response with another, more elaborate and very funny video alleging that "Conan's cheap knock-off" was produced by an oppressed gang of American child laborers who once worked for Michael Jackson at his Neverland Ranch.

O'Brien remembers Johnny Carson
'It was tough being off the air'

Last week on his show, the comedian said Team Coco would fire off another rebuttal, but it would take a while because his program only has one animator. "We want to respond," he said.

Online video "feuds" are popular nowadays, and like the Conan/Next Media back-and-forth, they're generally in good fun. In November, the British tabloid The Sun lampooned the popular Old Spice Guy ads to promote its barely clad Page 3 girls. In one video, a topless Page 3 model does a play-by-play parody of Isaiah Mustafa's Old Spice shower ad, with her long red tresses and other props covering any naughty bits.

What's unique about O'Brien is that he's using an old medium, TV, to engage a new medium, YouTube. It gives more credibility to a web-based company like Next Media Animation and makes late-night television seem more timely and urgent.

Expect more cross-medium smackdowns in the future. Your move, Coco.


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