We now know where Conan O’Brien will end up once his clause with NBC ends this fall – Coco is going to TBS. This has to be a shock to a lot of TV insiders and late night nerds as it was widely speculated that O’Brien would go to the FOX Network. In some respects, it seems like going to TBS is a failure for O’Brien in that cable has always been looked at as the bastard stepchild for the major networks. Here is the story as it appeared on the New York Times’ website:
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 up 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 here 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.”
What do you think? Could this possibly work out for Conan O’Brien? Cable channels are a little bit looser with their restrictions than network television so that could work in his favor. Also, with the 11:00pm start time there is a built-in lead against both Jay Leno and David Letterman. Plus, he’s pushing that miserable “Lopez Tonight” show back to a 12:00pm starting time, which will probably be good for everyone.
I guess we’ll have to wait and see how this whole thing plays out. All I hope for is that O’Brien beats the pants off of Leno…I can’t stand that arrogant punk.