Conan O’Brien has just announced via Twitter that he will return to the airwaves on TBS.
Coco, who amassed a large army of Twitter and real life supporters when NBC gave Jay Leno Conan’s Tonight Show spot after only a few disastrous months in the 10pm stop, tweeted this today about the move:
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’s 987,000 Facebook friends were also privy to the deal early on. A New York Times account of negotiations said that Coco refused to put another late night host in the same position he had been (“comedian” George Lopez has a show at 11pm on TBS) but Conan relented when Lopez called him personally and sold him on the idea:
…the Conan side had an immediate reaction: “You guys already have an 11 p.m. show.”
“…That sounded very similar to Jeff Gaspin coming to Conan and asking him to move back to midnight to make room for Jay,” (O’Brien’s manager Gavin) Polone said…
Mr. Polone said he went to Mr. O’Brien to inform him of the TBS offer. “Conan said, ‘We’re not putting ourselves in the position of shoving somebody out of his show.’ ” That blocked the potential deal for a brief time.
But that position changed after another phone call. Mr. Polone said that Mr. Lopez himself called Mr. O’Brien personally. “George called Conan to sell Conan on this idea. He was all for it. It really was George who made this happen.”
The deal is interesting because it sets O’Brien up in almost unchartered waters on the late night landscape. While it’s difficult to say that his internet fanbase will definitely morph into ratings, shows popular with twentysomethings and thirtysomethings like The Office and Family Guy will lead in to the new Coco vehicle. O’Brien will also be in direct competition with friends Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, who have 11pm and 11:30 shows on Comedy Central, respectively. The new show will be filmed in Los Angeles.