Conan O’Brien is back…Starting November

Conan O'Brien

This week, Conan O’Brien made a major announcement regarding his future. Starting this November he will return to late night. The destination however, is not what everyone expected and what the rumor mill was leaning towards. Instead of the Fox network, where almost everyone expected Conan would land this fall, the basic cable network TBS has swooped in, seemingly out of nowhere and snatched up the late night talent.

Terms of the deal were not released but, what is known is that one of the important factors for Conan in agreeing to the TBS deal was that he wanted to make sure that he would not be doing to a current TBS late night host, George Lopez, what Jay Leno did to him. You probably remember (and if not, I’m about to refresh that memory of yours) back in January when NBC was not pleased with The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien because of its poor ratings, as well as, the poor ratings for the lead-in, the Jay Leno Show. They decided to kick Conan as the host of the show, only about 7 months after he started (and moved from NY to L.A. for it). They then gave the show back to the previous host of the show, Jay Leno.

Conan O’Brien did not want George Lopez to be a victim in the process of Conan coming to TBS. George Lopez called Conan upon the TBS executives’ request and told him that he would be happy to have him at 11:00 PM, which would move Lopez to the 12:00 AM timeslot. For Lopez, it gives him a heavy hitter as his lead-in which should help his ratings. Also, by scratching the back of the executives, they will likely scratch his as well and extend his show for at least another year. From a creative standpoint, George Lopez has said that he hopes to work with Conan on some skits together which would be very innovate for two hosts to work together in that way.

For Conan, although we do not know at this time how much his deal is worth, it could be a good move for him because on cable he will have more creative freedom then he would ever have on the networks like NBC, Fox and the others. Also, because he is on cable and therefore, slightly less accessible to some TV watchers, he will not be hounded on to achieve similar ratings as Leno, Letterman or even Jimmy Kimmel. This will make his job easier, with less pressure and negative feedback.

I am looking forward to watching the new Conan show this fall as since his departure from NBC, I have not watched a single full episode of Leno’s Tonight Show and instead prefer Jimmy Kimmel, or a different program all together.