Fans of Conan O'Brien received good news today, when the comedian announced he had struck a deal with TBS for a new show. The as-yet-untitled program will air Monday through Thursday at 11 p.m. starting sometime in the fall on the basic cable channel.
Why should gamers who aren't fans of the flame-haired comedian care? Because O'Brien's team of handlers at one point reportedly considered bringing his show to Xbox Live. Showbiz blog Deadline Hollywood reports that "there were discussions with Microsoft about an Xbox deal for Conan's show that would have broken new ground." No further details were offered.
Conan O'Brien's new show will push TBS's increasingly popular talk show Lopez Tonight to 12:00 a.m.--with the host's full consent, apparently. "I can't think of anything better than doing my show with Conan as my lead-in," George Lopez said in a statement. According to the New York Times, Lopez actively recruited O'Brien, calling him personally over the course of the rapidly negotiated deal.
O'Brien's hesitation to displace an established program can be easily understood. It was NBC's forced rescheduling of the Tonight Show to 12:05 a.m. that prompted the comedian to leave the network earlier this year. The move was done to accommodate a new show by former Tonight Show host Jay Leno, whose move into primetime proved a ratings disaster. Leno has since resumed hosting the Tonight Show at 11:30 p.m.
Today, O'Brien kicked off his Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television Tour, a reference to the non-compete clause in his separation contract from NBC. That settlement garnered him at least $32 million in penalty payments--which he reportedly shared with his staffers who lost their jobs as part of the move.
Many of those same staffers will be working on O'Brien's TBS show, which will be produced in Los Angeles, where O'Brien and his staff relocated after leaving NBC's Late Night, now hosted by Jimmy Fallon. Fallon has taken the show in an even more youthful direction, even using it to host game premieres such as tonight's preempted unveilings of Gears of War 3 and Bulletstorm.