CoCo to Cable! Late-night television host Conan O’Brien is headed to cable channel TBS to resume his comedic duties, with a talk show expected to debut in November. He had been in discussions with Fox about starting a talk show at that network, but negotiations apparently faltered, resulting in O’Brien beginning serious talks with TBS just last week.
Per Marquee Blog:
“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 was booted from his job hosting “The Tonight Show” in January, when NBC decided that Jay Leno’s 10 p.m. nightly show wasn’t cutting it and the network gave Leno back his old slot after only eight months. Rather than head back to his 12:30 a.m. show, or even to 12:05 a.m., he left NBC. O’Brien, who is hitting the road today for a two-month standup comedy tour, reportedly signed a 5 year contract for a price being described only as “competitive.” The deal also makes him owner of the show. TBS also announced that O’Brien’s untitled show will air four nights a week, Mondays through Thursdays, at 11 p.m. George Lopez’s “Lopez Tonight” late-night show already airs on the cable net, but will get pushed back to midnight to accommodate O’Brien’s new venture – But not before O’Brien doublechecked to make sure he wasn’t doing to someone else what was done to him on NBC.
Sources tell TMZ the idea of bringing Conan to TBS was hatched by Turner’s entertainment chief Steve Koonin. We’re told Koonin went to George Lopez and said he would only approach Conan if George gave his blessing. We’re told George immediately figured out that having Conan as an 11:00 PM lead-in would be nothing short of amazing for a midnight show. With Lopez on board, we’re told Koonin then approached Conan with the idea. Conan’s first reaction — he didn’t want to do to someone else what was done to him, referring to NBC’s decision to blindside Conan. Koonin told Conan that George had signed off, but Conan wanted to make sure. George then called Conan to reassure him he was on board and thought they would be great partners.
And there’s this … George Lopez is saying, “I totally support Conan’s decision … We’ll have the best hair in late night.”
I thought it was very classy that Conan originally turned downed the offer when it meant moving Lopez. Equally classy (and smart) for Lopez to talk Conan into it. Lopez’ show wasn’t even on the radar during the talk show wars and today everyone is quoting him. I think this now puts Lopez ahead of Kimmel in the pecking order. Team Lo-Co!