Conan heads to cable network TBS
Conan O'Brien signs a lucrative five year deal with cable network Time Warner's Turner Broadcasting, TBS.
Conan O’Brien is returning to late-night television in the US on Time Warner’s Turner Broadcasting, TBS.
The surprise move sees him somewhere other than on FOX, who had been in negotiations with him.
At TBS O’Brien will have ownership of the show, which will give him the potential to make a lot more money then if he were just a hired hand hosting a show owned by a network.
There were also other issues with FOX including an inability to clear an 11 pm slot with affiliates.
“There were very positive talks with FOX, but there are commitments at the stations for the next two years that made it very difficult to put the show (in enough markets) to make it competitive,” one insider said.
“In three months I’ve gone from network television to Twitter to performing live in theatres, and now I’m headed to basic cable,” O’Brien said in a statement. “My plan is working perfectly.”
His new Los Angeles-based show, to air at 11pm from November, gives him a salary comparable to what he was making on NBC (at least $10 million per year), with the possibility of making more due to his ownership.
Ironically the move will push back George Lopez’s late-night show Lopez Tonight to midnight.
The move means O’Brien won’t face ratings comparisons to Jay Leno and David Letterman, though it does put O’Brien up against the similar sensibilities of Comedy Central’s Daily Show With Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report.
A deal between O’Brien’s camp and TBS was struck in about 72 hours, according to people involved in the talks.
The TBS deal is for five years.