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Conan O'Brien going to TBS in a return to late night

Conan O'Brien is going to cable.

The former host of NBC's "Tonight Show," who lost the program to Jay Leno earlier this year, has signed a deal for a new late-night program on TBS, the basic cable network owned by Time Warner. O'Brien's show will start in November at 11 p.m. George Lopez, the comedian who currently occupies that slot, will have his show move to midnight.

"In three months, I've gone from network television to Twitter to performing live in theaters, and now I'm headed to basic cable. My plan is working perfectly," O'Brien said in a statement.

The deal with TBS is sure to catch many by surprise. Most industry observers expected O'Brien to land at Fox. While Fox's top entertainment executives Peter Rice and Kevin Reilly were on board with going after O'Brien, persuading Fox's affiliates to carry the show was going to be more challenging. That's because those stations make a lot of money from the reruns they currently run at 11 p.m. This was also an issue for the stations owned by Fox itself.

The talks with TBS heated up in the last two weeks. As recently as a month ago, Turner executives had indicated they had little interest in going after O'Brien. Lopez has given them some solid numbers with younger viewers and is a contrast to Comedy Central's late-night duo of Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert.

But in the last few weeks, Turner's entertainment chief Steve Koonin changed his mind and started negotiating with O'Brien to come to the cable channel. O'Brien was game but did not want to go without Lopez being on board with the idea.

Turner executives huddled with Lopez and Warner Bros.' Telepictures Productions, which makes the show, and got the go-ahead.

"I can't think of anything better than doing my show with Conan as my lead-in," Lopez said. "It's the beginning of a new era in late-night comedy."

-- Joe Flint

Related:

Conan will have ownership of his TBS show

 
Comments () | Archives (26)

Conando is headed to cable! Does that mean he can get away with more?

This is surprising news, but I hope it works out well! I may actually watch George Lopez now, because I'll definitely be watching Conan.

Hats off to FOX...smart move...keep the affiliates happy...and never forget that Conan has never drawn big numbers in viewers regardless of what time NBC had his show airing. With FOX...if you take away "American Idol", the NFL Football Package and the MLB Baseball Playoffs and World Series package...their numbers aren't as good as advertised. Forget Conan and focus on bringing on board new break out hit scripted dramas and comedies that audiences will get excited about. Please no more stiffs like "Past Life, "Sons of Tucson", "Brothers" and...Human "2.2 demo" Target.

hahahah TS Lopez

Lopez says he's on board, and everybody is smiling. But it has to be obvious that this is another case of the big guy crowding out the little guy in network politics and money. Leno did it to Conan, and now Conan shoves Lopez to the back of the bus. It might work, but it just feels wrong.

Conan should try radio.

LOL Coco is no different then jay leno, he took GLo's spot.

TBS quickly put together this video promo for the show:
http://bit.ly/cZlMUy

Good . We will never have to hear of him again .

Despite Conan's sensitivity to the issue, there will inevitably be people who think he muscled out Lopez just as Conan himself was edged out by Leno. But that comparison won't trouble Conan's core fans. The issue for us was never the unfairness of the Tonight Show debacle. The issue was that NBC chose an unfunny dinosaur over a funny host entering the prime of his career. And that was just culturally unacceptable.

The difference between Conan and Leno is that Conan asked Lopez to sign off on the deal. Leno had no similar regard for Conan's approval.

at least conan considered lopez. if lopez didn't like the deal, he could've said no, and then conan would've either walked away or pulled a leno. i think we all know what conan would've done. he's a good guy. i hope his viewers do tune in for lopez.

Conan you know your fans wouldn't care if you were on EWTN we'd still watch you Co-Co :)

Welcome back "my baby"

gerard & monika :)

ps- we missed you!

Hmm,

The tables have turned now...of course George Lopez is not going to disagree, he's not renewed his contract with TBS. Why would you want to bite the hand that feeds you? This was probably a provision that guaranteed George another run of his late night show. I'm a Conan fan but come on, all that fuss and he does the something thing to someone else that was done to him. 11pm is a prime spot, midnight..baaaa. Either way I can't wait to Conan's show, it's going to be a great lineup.

To the people saying Conan is just like Jay now, you should read the article that Yahoo has on this story. To quote: "O'Brien, 46, entered negotiations with the network last week after Lopez called and asked him to join TBS' late-night lineup. "I can't think of anything better than doing my show with Conan as my lead-in," Lopez said in a statement. "It's the beginning of a new era in late-night comedy.""

So in short, Conan is nothing like Leno and made sure he wasn't pulling a Leno on anyone before signing a contract. Unlike Leno he actually has a conscience and is actually funny.

TBS will be a great place for Conan to work. He'll have time to drive all the way home for a snack during each commercial break.

What is Coco doing? He shouldn't be allowed on air haha

The best move eveeeeeerrrrr. I can not wait.Conan you did the best desicion ever. luv ya, and i'll see you in November!

Did you see Conan's comment on Twitter? http://bit.ly/d89nLk

Its over for Conan.
TBS doesnt care about ratings I guess.


I, for one, am so happy to see Conan return to t.v. Late Night t.v. has turned to crap since his NBC departure. Fallon is good, but not as great as Conan. And Leno can just retire for all I care.

Welcome back, Coco!

No show ever did better going to cable, Conan won't get the
ratings he got at 12:30 , on NETWORK, do the math 50+
million households have cable !

Correction : 50 + % (per cent) have cable

Comando Steve Koonin who runs Turner networks got The Conando congratulations from Grace Baine who is also negotiating a deal for an upcoming show could this be TRUTV?
A new era and maybe a brand new network. could this be luring Turner back to run a new network? google search www.gracebainetv.com for upcoming news on TruTV shows
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1140761/
http://twitter.com/gracebaine
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eeZadj2zuSA

If you look at it from Lopez's perspective, Conando is bringing a larger audience to look at Lopez's show. Plus, I am sure that they paid Lopez some good money for another season.

 
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