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November 25, 2014

Is Conan's New TBS Home a Good Fit?

by Allyssa Lee, posted Apr 13th 2010 10:20AM
Conan O'BrienThe epic news that Conan O'Brien will host a late-night talk show on TBS was momentous in that it didn't place the ousted talk-show host at Fox, as widely speculated, and that the whole deal was cobbled together in a hush-hush effort in a little over a week. Equally as shocking, however, was Conan's decision to park his late-night desk over at a basic cable network.

No doubt that this is a huge get for TBS, and one that allows the network to increase its stake in late-night TV when O'Brien's show airs back-to-back with George Lopez's 'Lopez Tonight' this November.Conan O'BrienThe epic news that Conan O'Brien will host a late-night talk show on TBS was momentous in that it didn't place the ousted talk-show host at Fox, as widely speculated, and that the whole deal was cobbled together in a hush-hush effort in a little over a week. Equally as shocking, however, was Conan's decision to park his late-night desk over at a basic cable network.

No doubt that this is a huge get for TBS, and one that allows the network to increase its stake in late-night TV when O'Brien's show airs back-to-back with George Lopez's 'Lopez Tonight' this November.



"For decades, late-night TV has been dominated by broadcast television," said Turner Entertainment Networks president Steve 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."

But isn't TBS also where 'The Office' and 'Family Guy' reruns are put to pasture?

Well, yes. And the cable network's reputation for more modest programming was not lost on Conan himself. "The good news: I will be doing a show on TBS starting in November! The bad news: I'll be playing Rudy on the all new Cosby Show," O'Brien tweeted.

But as surprising as the move might initially appear, it might make sense for O'Brien to stake his claim in basic cable. First of all, the network prides itself on being "very funny." So does Coco. Also, like O'Brien, it appears to draw a young audience: 'Lopez Tonight' viewers have a median age of 34.

And instead of being constrained to building on an already-established tradition of late-night predecessors, this alignment with a network new to the late-night talk show game gives O'Brien the opportunity to let his freak flag fly sky high ("He can do whatever he wants to do here," Koonin told EW.com), and the freedom to build on the kooky brand of comedy he'd established on 'Late Night.' All this, without the pressure of competing directly in the late-night wars on a network that's available in more than 100 million households.

My BoysIt could also help establish TBS as a network contender. The basic cable net already has its share of original programming, including Tyler Perry's 'House of Payne' and 'Meet the Browns' and the winning 'My Boys' featuring Jordana Spiro.

On deck to premiere in June are 'Are We There Yet?' starring Terry Crews, based on the 2005 Ice Cube film of the same name, and 'Neighbors From Hell,' an animated series about a family from the Inferno infiltrating a Texas oil-drilling town, featuring the voices of Molly Shannon, Will Sasso and Patton Oswalt.

And to continue building on the "very funny" brand, the network is also considering four hour-long comedy pilots: 'Franklin & Bash' starring Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Breckin Meyer and Malcolm McDowell, about a couple of maverick lawyers joining a button-down law firm; 'Glory Daze,' an '80s set college comedy about pledging a fraternity with Matt Bush and Tim Meadows; 'In Security' with Brandon Routh and Tina Majorino, about a private security firm run by two sisters; and 'Uncle Nigel' with Gary Cole, Charles Dutton and Lea Thompson, in which a Philly detective is partnered up with his nephew.



What do you think? Is O'Brien's move to TBS a good one?

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