Conan O'Brien is going to TBS."In three months I've gone from network television to Twitter to performing live in theaters, and now I'm headed to basic cable," O'Brien said in a statement. "My plan is working perfectly."A formal announcement is expected at 1 p.m. ET.Check out photos of Conan through the yearsThe currently untitled one-hour show, which will be produced in Los Angeles, will debut in November at 11/10c after the World Series, and will ...
Conan O'Brien is going to TBS. "In three months I've gone from network television to Twitter to performing live in theaters, and now I'm headed to basic cable," O'Brien said in a statement. "My plan is working perfectly." O'Brien also tweeted: "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."
The currently untitled one-hour show, which will be produced in Los Angeles, will debut in November at 11/10c after the World Series, and will air Monday through Thursday. It will be followed by George Lopez's Lopez Tonight, which currently airs in the timeslot and has averaged more than 1.2 million viewers for its first season.O'Brien's move marks a surprising end to a late-night shuffle that started with Jay Leno's return to the 11:35 p.m. slot on NBC and continued with O'Brien bowing out of hosting the Tonight Show after only seven months. He was widely expected to go to Fox, and his shift to TBS dramatically raises the network's profile.
"Conan has been the comedic voice for a generation," said Steve Koonin, president of Turner Entertainment Networks. "TBS already has a huge audience of young comedy lovers, and Conan's show will give these fans even more reasons to watch our network. For decades, late-night TV has been dominated by broadcast television. 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."O'Brien, 46, entered negotiations with the network last week after Lopez called and asked him to join TBS' late-night lineup. "I can't think of anything better than doing my show with Conan as my lead-in," Lopez said in a statement. "It's the beginning of a new era in late-night comedy."Fox had expressed interest in recruiting O'Brien to stake its place in the crowded late-night field, but most affiliates currently air syndicated programs in the 11 p.m. hour.
Rupert Murdoch, the head of Fox's parent company News Corp., told The Wall Street Journal in February that Fox TV executives Peter Rice and Kevin Reilly would have to "show us we can do it and be fairly confident of making a profit" for the network to hire O'Brien. O'Brien, who hosted Late Night for 16 years, started The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien — his dream job — on June 1. He drew lower numbers than his predecessor, Leno, in part because The Jay Leno Show provided a weaker lead-in than the 10 p.m. programming it replaced. In January, NBC concocted a plan to move Leno back to 11:35 with a half-hour show, to be followed by O'Brien at 12:05 a.m. O'Brien chose to leave The Tonight Show, saying that walking away was "the hardest thing I have ever had to do."
Under the terms of his $45 million exit deal, O'Brien is obligated to remain off the air until September. He has since kept busy on Twitter and planning his live comedy tour, Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television Tour, which kicks off Monday in Eugene, Ore.Check out TBS' teaser below: