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TCA Press Tour: 'Lopez Tonight' to debut in November on TBS

July 28, 2009 |  6:11 pm

Georgelopez When "Lopez Tonight" premieres in November, don't expect host George Lopez to sit behind a desk or to read from cue cards. He wants to mingle with his guests on plastic-wrapped furniture. (He was joking about the plastic. We think.)

His Monday-through-Thursday TBS late-night show is going to be a party that won't always begin with his stand-up. Some nights a musical guest will open the show. Other nights, maybe a conversation with an actor will kick it off. What Lopez says he wants more than anything is a spontaneous party atmosphere that thrives on the energy of his guests and audience.

"There have been a lot of supermarkets but until Costco came around and started selling the big mayonnaise, it took it to another level," he said. "This show is gonna be bigger and badder."

Lopez said he is honored to be the first Latino to land a late-night hosting perch, and is hoping that fans of his 2002-2007 ABC sitcom, "The George Lopez Show" (now in syndication), will only be one part of his new audience.

"As the country changes and people become more familiar with comedy and comedians....it's not that old America anymore. It's not your father's America anymore. I only feel added pressure because apparently in some parts of the country, I'll be up against novelas and I can't win that battle."

"The goal is to do a show so great that people who are out there with black boxes will actually want to turn themselves in and get cable," he added.

Addressing a question about the increased competition in the field, with Jay Leno launching a new nightly comedy show on NBC on Sept. 14, Lopez said he welcomes being in the race for viewers. His show will air at 11 p.m.

"It's a beautiful position to be in," he added. "There's competition in every business you're in. I don't want to slam anybody except Erik Estrada."

He's also not worried that he will get caught in the booking wars and be left with no noteworthy guests.

"I don't think anybody's going after Menudo," he joked.

Lopez, who said his career was transformed when he appeared on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" in 1991, said he will give new comics a chance on his show and plans to re-institute Carson's famous thumbs up and wave to those he invites to the couch.

He's fully aware that not everything will go smoothly.

"If I can remember that I'm inherently funny, there are going to be some moments that are going to be a little tough," Lopez said. "You know you're going to hit a couple of stumbling blocks and how you react the first time is telling. 'What do I do now?' So the first time I ask a question and it doesn't go over very well and I go, 'OK, now what?' Now I'm gonna wish I had cards."

--Maria Elena Fernandez

--Credit: Getty Images

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