That Conan O'Brien will be back on television in November should surprise no one. But his new home probably will: TBS. While O'Brien was widely expected to make his return at Fox, with whom he's been openly negotiating, Variety has the news that he'll make the basic cable station—sorry, superstation—his new late-night home. TBS will run the show in the 11pm ET slot currently occupied by George Lopez's Lopez Tonight. What gives? Here's what O'Brien had to say:
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.
So why did talks with Fox break down? It seems like some stations were reluctant to vacate a timeslot with which they were already doing fine with reruns of Seinfeld and The Family Guy and other shows. With Fox, O'Brien might not have aired in some markets, or aired later than he would have liked. Going with TBS solves that problem.
But whither Lopez? Variety says the deal started to come together after Lopez called O'Brien and gave him the okay. Lopez's show will shift an hour later and he seems just fine with that, telling Variety, "I can't think of anything better than doing my show with Conan as my lead-in."
Looks like the latest round of the late-night wars has a surprise twist-ending. Will it be a happy one? Tune in November to find out.