Photo Credit: NBC
"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 in is working perfectly," joked Conan O'Brien, in response to the news that he would be making his return to late-night television on TBS this fall.
After O'Brien's relatively new hosting gig on The Tonight Show was handed back to his predecessor, Jay Leno, due to a timeslot shake-up at NBC, O'Brien exited the network. Variety now reports that O'Brien, 46, will get his own series airing at 11 p.m. EST, Monday to Thursday nights.
The yet-to-be-titled show is set to premiere in November and will be the lead-in for George Lopez's late-night chat fest, Lopez Tonight, which will now be bumped to the midnight timeslot. Lopez greeted the news with enthusiasm: "I can't think of anything better than doing my show with Conan as my lead-in. It's the beginning of a new era in late-night comedy."
The news is being heralded not only by Team Conan, but the network itself. Turner Entertainment Networks president Steve Koonin called O'Brien "the comedic voice for a generation" and said that his younger viewers "will give these fans even more reasons to watch our network."
O'Brien also tweeted about the career 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."
At one time, Fox was in talks to snag O'Brien as host of a new show. As the New York Times reports, "Most predictions had him moving (to Fox) in September or January. TBS was not known to be in the picture. But Mr. O'Brien's representatives had been quietly talking with that cable network as issues continued to arise with the potential Fox deal."
Under the rules of O'Brien's departure with NBC, he can start giving TV interviews as of May (perhaps he'll swing by Lopez's show first?) and can star on his own program as of November. In the meantime, O'Brien is hitting the road with his comedy tour, aptly titled "Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television," which kicks off tonight in Eugene, Ore.
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