Monday, January 25, 2010

FOX wants Conan

Usually, I'd be skeptical of articles in the New York Post because Murdoch owns the Post but in this case, I have no reason to be skeptical at all.

The latest developments with regards to Conan O'Brien:
FOX is set to move fast to pick up Conan O'Brien for a rival late-night show, according to sources.

Talks between O'Brien and Fox could start as early as this week.

"Chances like this don't come around very often," says the source with knowledge of the situation.

"If Fox wants to be in late night, now's the time."[...]

"He's one of the few guys on the planet who has demonstrated he can do one of these shows every night," Kevin Reilly, Fox's entertainment president, said last week.

What is new is word that Fox wants to complete a deal with Conan quickly.[...]

O'Brien's young appeal is a better fit at Fox than at NBC, which was used to the larger-but-older audience that Jay Leno had been getting at 11:30.[...]

And, most attractive of all, Conan's salary will be paid in large part by NBC -- thanks to the $32.5-million settlement he received last week to get out of his "Tonight" show contract.

Indications are that Fox execs began quizzing local affiliates last week to see if time at 11 p.m. -- now reserved mostly for reruns of comedies -- can be cleared.

"If they don't jump now, they'll have to wait another five years for another opportunity like this to come along," says the source.

Offers from cable TV channels and TV syndication are also expected to come in this week, sources close to Conan said.

At the center of talks with Fox will be whether Conan, like David Letterman, will be allowed to own his show -- or split ownership with Fox.

"One things for sure," says a Conan source. "He won't do anything that is not a high-quality show."

Translation: Any new show will be expecting a "Tonight" show-type budget.

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