The late night wars have taken a new turn. When Conan O’Brien returns to television in the fall, it wont’ be on the Fox broadcast network but on cable network TBS. CNN is reporting the news, quoting TBS officials. The Washington Post added more detail, including a funny quote from Conan. He’ll be on at 11pm ET/PT, giving him a half-hour jump on Letterman and Leno.
Late night will becomes even more entangled with overlapping time periods, leaving the fall schedule looking something like this:
ABC/CBS/NBC – Local News
Comedy Central – The Daily Show w/Jon Stewart
E! – Chelsea Lately w/Chelsea Handler
TBS – Conan O’Brien
ABC – Nightline
CBS – Late Night w/David Letterman
NBC – The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
Comedy Central – The Colbert Report
ABC – Jimmy Kimmel Live
TBS – Lopez Tonight w/George Lopez
CBS – The Late Late Show w/Craig Ferguson
NBC – Late Night w/Jimmy Fallon
NBC – Last Call w/Carson Daly
We’re pretty sure that’s right… check your local listings this fall to be sure. The bottom line for Craig Ferguson is that he’ll continue to compete directly against Jimmy Fallon and indirectly with Jimmy Kimmel’s second half-hour, along with George Lopez.
Although O’Brien’s parting of the ways with NBC allows him to return to television in September, his new show will begin in November, to allow TBS to complete its contract with Major League Baseball. It will host several games in the American League playoffs in October. TBS wanted O’Brien to be able to start up the new show uninterrupted, according to the New York Times.
Left out of the mix on weeknights will be Fox. Several media reports indicate that local Fox affiliate stations were more interested in running syndicated programming (and holding onto the advertising revenue they currently enjoy from such shows) during the 11pm hour than Conan, making negotiations with the network more difficult. Fox does offer Wanda Sykes in the 11pm timeslot on Saturday nights up against NBC’s Saturday Night Live.
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