From the LA Times:
The former host of NBC's "Tonight Show," who lost the program to Jay Leno earlier this year, has signed a deal for a new late-night program on TBS, the basic cable network owned by Time Warner. O'Brien's show will start in November at 11 p.m. George Lopez, the comedian who currently occupies that slot, will have his show move to midnight.The big thing here is Conan O'Brien will be directly opposite both Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.
"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 is working perfectly," O'Brien said in a statement.
The deal with TBS is sure to catch many by surprise. Most industry observers expected O'Brien to land at Fox. While Fox's top entertainment executives Peter Rice and Kevin Reilly were on board with going after O'Brien, persuading Fox's affiliates to carry the show was going to be more challenging. That's because those stations make a lot of money from the reruns they currently run at 11 p.m. This was also an issue for the stations owned by Fox itself.
The talks with TBS heated up in the last two weeks. As recently as a month ago, Turner executives had indicated they had little interest in going after O'Brien. Lopez has given them some solid numbers with younger viewers and is a contrast to Comedy Central's late-night duo of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.
Here's some extra details on the new show.
But as part of his deal with Time Warner's Turner Broadcasting to host a late-night show on TBS, O'Brien will have ownership of the show. That will give him the potential to make a lot more money then if he were just a hired hand hosting a show owned by a network. O'Brien's deal is for five years.
A deal between O'Brien's camp and TBS was struck in about 72 hours, according to people involved in the talks.
TBS previously had indicated it was not interested in O'Brien, but Turner Entertainment chief Steve Koonin said in an interview that was in part because "we assumed he had a deal with Fox."
Koonin reached out to O'Brien's team and then went back to his own late-night host, George Lopez, who was also enthusiastic about the idea of bringing Conan to TBS. O'Brien will have his show at 11 p.m., and Lopez will move to midnight. Although Lopez will have a later time period, he also will likely have a bigger lead-in audience.