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Conan O'Brien Blows Off Fox, Signs Mega-Deal with TBS

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood April 12, 2010 at 8:19AM

“In three months I’ve gone from network television to Twitter to performing live in theaters, and now I’m headed to basic cable," said Conan O'Brien on the occasion of his ground-breaking new deal with Time Warner's TBS. "My plan is working perfectly.”
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Thompson on Hollywood

“In three months I’ve gone from network television to Twitter to performing live in theaters, and now I’m headed to basic cable," said Conan O'Brien on the occasion of his ground-breaking new deal with Time Warner's TBS. "My plan is working perfectly.”

The basic cabler gave O'Brien more than cautious network Fox--which had to cope with balky affiliates--was willing to do, allowing the late night host to own his own show (starting in November), throwing in a huge pay-day as well. It all comes down to who needed him the most: TBS. "In the coming hours and days, look for both sides to spin just what went wrong in the courtship," cautions The Wrap.

More details at Variety, the LAT and The Daily Beast, which reports that TBS comedian George Lopez was instrumental in bringing O'Brien over to build an 11 PM bridge to his show, "Lopez Tonight," which would move later, to midnight, by calling the deposed Tonight show host himself. Lopez told O’Brien:

“I really want you here. You and I are the team. I want to move to midnight.”

Meanwhile, Jay Leno is doing fine back at NBC's The Tonight Show with a much older demo than the following O'Brien was building. On basic cable, O'Brien will be free to be at his unfettered best, vying against Comedy Central's Jon Stewart for the younger demo.

This article is related to: Studios, News, TV, Twentieth Century Fox


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.