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Conan O'Brien to Debut on TBS in November  

post #1 of 304
Thread Starter 
Conan O’Brien Will Do a Late-Night Show on TBS

By BILL CARTER

Paul Drinkwater/NBC

In a move that qualifies as a shocker, Conan O’Brien has made a deal to return to television in a new late-night show on cable — not network — television.

The former “Tonight Show” host has agreed to start a new show on TBS, the comedy-oriented cable channel in the Turner network lineup. The new show will start in November and play at 11 p.m. weeknights, teamed with that network’s other late-night show, hosted by George Lopez. That show, now at 11, will slide to midnight.

The news comes as a stunner because Mr. O’Brien was known to be in talks with the Fox network, and most predictions had him moving there in September or January.

TBS was not known to be in the picture. But Mr. O’Brien’s representatives had been quietly talking with that cable network as issues continued to arise with the potential Fox deal.

The move will surely be closely examined for its implications for the future of broadcast vs. cable television, with one of the biggest stars of recent years in network television abandoning that side for cable.

In a release accompanying the announcement Mr. O’Brien said: “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.”

Mr. O’Brien begins his live concert tour in Eugene, Ore., Monday night.

In the statement, Steve Koonin, the president of Turner Entertainment Networks, emphasized the change from network to cable:

“For decades, late-night TV has been dominated by broadcast television,” Mr. Koonin said. “Now, with a young audience and a growing late-night lineup, TBS is set to be the choice of comedy fans for years to come.”

http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.co...t-show-on-tbs/
post #2 of 304
TBS? That was a surprise....but nice to hear Conan's headed back to TV.

Will George Lopez balk at moving to midnight, thereby destroying the legacy of TBS's late night history?
post #3 of 304
Thread Starter 
Lopez Tonight at midnight just isn't Lopez Tonight.
post #4 of 304
Wow, never saw that coming! He should also get a lot of ad time during post season baseball in October on the channel. Anyway my TV will be tuned to TBS at 11pm starting in Nov.
post #5 of 304
Wow, talk about putting the final nail in his own coffin. Welcome to the end of your career, Conan.
post #6 of 304
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus Carr View Post

Lopez Tonight at midnight just isn't Lopez Tonight.

After posting the link for the report on this from Huffington Post onto my Facebook page, a friend commented there....

"This should help dispell the myth that George Lopez is actually funny".
post #7 of 304
Does anyone else see this as another nail in the coffin for broadcast TV?
post #8 of 304
Thread Starter 
Conan O'Brien Inks Late-Night Deal With TBS

Show will launch in November, ‘Lopez Tonight' moving to midnight

By Marisa Guthrie -- Broadcasting & Cable, 4/12/2010 1:09:16 PM

Conan O'Brien has inked a deal with TBS for a late-night program that will launch in November, the network revealed Apr. 12.

The addition of O'Brien to TBS at 11 p.m. will push new late-night entry Lopez Tonight to midnight.

O'Brien left NBC as host of The Tonight Show earlier this year after much well-publicized wrangling over moving O'Brien's Tonight Show to 12:05 a.m. in order to make room for a half-hour show hosted by Jay Leno.

According to TBS' press release, talks with O'Brien only began "in earnest" last week, after Lopez personally called O'Brien to join the network.

"I can't think of anything better than doing my show with Conan as my lead-in," said Lopez in a statement.


Leno moved back into The Tonight Show chair in February, where he has regained his ratings lead over CBS' Late Show with David Letterman.

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

O'Brien kicks off his Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television Comedy Tour today (Apr. 12). Per his $32 million exit agreement with NBC, O'Brien is contractually barred from appearing on television -- or saying anything disparaging about his former employer -- until Sept. 1.

O'Brien was in advanced talks for a late-night program on Fox, according to multiple sources. But the network's affiliate body was lukewarm on the idea. Many of them have lucrative syndicated programming in place in late-night, which would have pushed an O'Brien program to the wee hours on many stations. Fox was also said to be offering a short-term contract with a modest pay-day for O'Brien. Terms of the TBS deal were not disclosed.

Turner Entertainment Networks President Steve Koonin called O'Brien "the comedic voice for a generation."

"For decades, late night TV has been dominated by broadcast television," said Koonin in a statement. "Now, with a young audience and a growing late-night lineup, TBS is set to be the choice of comedy fans for years to come."

http://www.broadcastingcable.com/art...l_With_TBS.php
post #9 of 304
Quote:
Originally Posted by skyehill View Post

Wow, talk about putting the final nail in his own coffin. Welcome to the end of your career, Conan.

He won't necessarily need network-level ratings to succeed in basic cable, I imagine.

If he pulls something close to what Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert pull @ Comedy Central, Conan & TBS should be happy. Plus, even if the audence is smaller, as long as it hits the lusted over demo of 18-49 yr olds, advertisers should also be happy.

Regardless, I predict the 1st episode will be one of TBS's highest rated nights ever, just out of curiousity & the buzz the Tonight Show dustup provided.
post #10 of 304
Quote:
Originally Posted by theo871 View Post

Does anyone else see this as another nail in the coffin for broadcast TV?


Of course not. But it most definitely is a nail in Conan's.
post #11 of 304
Quote:
Originally Posted by skyehill View Post

Of course not. But it most definitely is a nail in Conan's.

Of course you would think it that way.

This gives Conan the chance to put on the show he really wants with little restrictions. I would be willing to bet it will be funnier than ever!
post #12 of 304
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus Carr View Post

Lopez Tonight at midnight just isn't Lopez Tonight.

It's actually Lopez Tomorrow Morning.
post #13 of 304
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus Carr View Post

Conan O'Brien Inks Late-Night Deal With TBS

Show will launch in November, ‘Lopez Tonight' moving to midnight

By Marisa Guthrie -- Broadcasting & Cable, 4/12/2010 1:09:16 PM


According to TBS' press release, talks with O'Brien only began "in earnest" last week, after Lopez personally called O'Brien to join the network.

"I can't think of anything better than doing my show with Conan as my lead-in," said Lopez in a statement.


Guess that finishes any speculation on George's feelings on getting bumped ahead an hour. The curiousity for a new Conan show alone will surely lead to Lopez getting a nice spike in the numbers.

Many have speculated that the 1st TV appearence Conan makes after 9/1/10 would be on Letterman. I wonder now if it'll actually be on Goerge Lopez's show.

Also plan on Conan popping up in the booth during TBS-carried sporting events.
post #14 of 304
It may be a win for Conan in that he can appeal to a smaller demographic and not have to hit the big numbers expected by the main networks. As Leno says competition is always good. More choice for all of us. Good luck to him. Unfortunately he won't have a good vehicle to cross promote very well. IE commercials saying whose on Conan tonight won't be widely seen. Cable tends to be destination and not lead in driven. IE I go to watch Mad Men. I don't just leave the channel on A&E.

I guess Fox doesn't have to worry about the affiliate issues now. I wonder if he felt he was more at risk at Fox since they cancel shows very easily and Cable tends to be more forgiving.
post #15 of 304
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Vidonic View Post

It's actually Lopez Tomorrow Morning.

But by that rationale, wouldn't Ferguson, Fallon & Kimmel also technically be "early, early" shows as oppsed to "late"?
post #16 of 304
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jwebb1970 View Post

Also plan on Conan popping up in the booth during TBS-carried sporting events.

And heavy promotion on other Turner Networks. And a simulcast of the first show on TNT like Lopez.
post #17 of 304
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Vidonic View Post

It's actually Lopez Tomorrow Morning.

Only on the East Coast...
post #18 of 304
From the Los Angeles Times ("Company Town")

CONAN O'BRIEN GOING TO TBS

April 12, 2010 | 9:45 am

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
post #19 of 304
At present, TBS's HD channel doesn't have a west coast feed. This means he'll be on at 8 (and probably again at 11) for those of us in the Pacific Time Zone.

I was a bit disappointed at first that he wasn't going to Fox, but the more I think about it, the more I think this was the right move.

First of all, at Fox, the audience would be split three or four ways (against Letterman, Leno, and, possibly Kimmel, depending on what time his show would have been on in a particular market). At TBS, while his competition is the same (actually, add Stewart and Colbert into the equation), there's far less pressure to compete with broadcast television.

Secondly, Conan will be able to get away with more on TBS than he could on NBC, or would have been able to on Fox. A common complaint about The Tonight Show With Conan O'Brien was the fact that he watered down his act to be more appealing to Mary Soccermom, or just more appropriate for 11:30 pm broadcast. I'm willing to bet the new show will be less like The Tonight Show and more like Late Night.

The show will supposedly have the same budget as what they had to work with on NBC, so there really shouldn't be anything lost in regards to production quality.

And finally, according to Nikki Finke's blog, Conan will own his show, much like Letterman owns The Late Show and The Late Late Show. So this move bodes well for Conan.

I think he'll do quite well on TBS. Let's just hope that Max Weinberg doesn't join Team Leno and makes the move to basic cable with Conan.
post #20 of 304
Quote:
Originally Posted by AKAWalrus View Post

At present, TBS's HD channel doesn't have a west coast feed. This means he'll be on at 8 (and probably again at 11) for those of us in the Pacific Time Zone.

I was a bit disappointed at first that he wasn't going to Fox, but the more I think about it, the more I think this was the right move.

First of all, at Fox, the audience would be split three or four ways (against Letterman, Leno, and, possibly Kimmel, depending on what time his show would have been on in a particular market). At TBS, while his competition is the same (actually, add Stewart and Colbert into the equation), there's far less pressure to compete with broadcast television.

Secondly, Conan will be able to get away with more on TBS than he could on NBC, or would have been able to on Fox. A common complaint about The Tonight Show With Conan O'Brien was the fact that he watered down his act to be more appealing to Mary Soccermom, or just more appropriate for 11:30 pm broadcast. I'm willing to bet the new show will be less like The Tonight Show and more like Late Night.

The show will supposedly have the same budget as what they had to work with on NBC, so there really shouldn't be anything lost in regards to production quality.

And finally, according to Nikki Finke's blog, Conan will own his show, much like Letterman owns The Late Show and The Late Late Show. So this move bodes well for Conan.

I think he'll do quite well on TBS. Let's just hope that Max Weinberg doesn't join Team Leno and makes the move to basic cable with Conan.

Fox audience would've been split many more than just 3 ways - since many afiliates wouldn't not have been able to air it at 11pm due to various syndication agreements. That alone would've been a huge early bad hit on his show's performance.

It seems surprising at first, but the move definitely makes a lot of sense. TBS is clearly trying to build something here.
post #21 of 304
Also, it's somewhat ironic that Conan moves to TBS with a show that starts at 11:00 from network, where all late night shows start on the old 'Turner Time' of 11:35.
post #22 of 304
Between Stewart/Colbert, Conan, Adult Swim and the "Simpsons/Office" 11PM repeats the real loser in this new late shuffle is the late local news that got Jay Leno back to 11:30 (and Conan booted out of "The Tonight Show"). There are only so many young viewers available at 11PM, and now they have a ridiculous amount of options to bother checking news they've probably known about from reading them online. Conan-Lopez will be my new late night viewing options come November (with Kimmel and Fallon relegated to the DVR).

Quote:


According to TBS' press release, talks with O'Brien only began "in earnest" last week, after Lopez personally called O'Brien to join the network.

"I can't think of anything better than doing my show with Conan as my lead-in," said Lopez in a statement.

Didn't Conan say the same thing about having Leno as his lead-in? We know how well that turned out. However I can see Lopez actually wanting a stronger lead-in into his show (even at midnight) than "My Name Is Earl" and "Tyler Perry" repeats. And let's face it, a lone late night talk show is a harder sell for the long haul than two feeding off each other.
post #23 of 304
Quote:
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post



Didn't Conan say the same thing about having Leno as his lead-in? We know how well that turned out. However I can see Lopez actually wanting a stronger lead-in into his show (even at midnight) than "My Name Is Earl" and "Tyler Perry" repeats. And let's face it, a lone late night talk show is a harder sell for the long haul than two feeding off each other.


The buzz of Lopez's lead in simply being Conan is enough to guarantee at least decent ratings at first. As attractive as George Lopez may be to the younger demo, Conan is even more so.

Plus, Conan will own his show - something I highly doubt FOX was willing to offer.
post #24 of 304
This move seems odd to me. Even a fragmented Broadcast TV audience would prove greater than TBS. Had Conan demonstrated he could generate an audience on Fox, the affiliates might have come around. I can't see how this move is better for him, than 12:05 AM on NBC hosting "The Tonight Show". Oh well, being an OTA viewer, Nightline will remain in lieu of Jay Leno.

Craig Ferguson has to be the biggest beneficiary in this. He just might be the next host of "The Tonight Show", if Jon Stewert gets the "Late Show".
post #25 of 304
Perfect fit for Conan. I'll be watching in November.
post #26 of 304
Too bad, TBS = not viewing it..

Not buying Cable/Sat just to watch Conan as much as I wanted to..

Is like getting a brand new cell phone just to make a call once a day during the weekends for $50 a month.. if I just could call that person on a land line for free instead.
post #27 of 304
R.I.P. Conan's talk show career. 1993 - 2010

post #28 of 304
It's just amazing how TBS has gone from zero late night presence a year ago to having two top-notch late night performers with proven 18-49 demo attraction later this year. Shoot, TBS has done in two years what Fox hasn't been able to do for 20 (and won't do now that Conan's fled the coop): build a latenight comedy block. It even took Adult Swim almost half-a-decade to build it's late night brand, but TBS? Guess that's the benefit of having a huge corporate wallet.

Tonight's "Lopez," "Daily Show" and "Colbert Report" should be epic (especially the latter since he's the only one to regularly make snarky comments about protecting his 11:30PM turf).
post #29 of 304
No national OTA network censors to have to pass everything through.....

.....should be interesting....
post #30 of 304
Interesting.
My initional thoughts was a show on FOX would be a better turn out than a show on TBS.

I'll check it out.
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