Big day for Conan O'Brien, his workers and his fans on Team Coco. By now we all know that TBS outfoxed FOX and snagged Conan to what's widely being reported as a five-year deal to air Monday-Thursday at 11 p.m. (with Conan owning the show), broadcast from Los Angeles and likely very close by the Warner Bros. studios in Burbank where George Lopez tapes Lopez Tonight (which will move to midnights).
And by all accounts, the deal happened because Lopez and TBS both were OK with Conan bumping Lopez to midnight — the very thing Conan was not cool with Leno and NBC doing to him. The TBS party line, and the early word from Conan's team to New York Times late-night TV chronicler Bill Carter echoed that sentiment, saying that Lopez himself called Conan to sell him on the idea.
You can read their quotes on the page TBS set up this afternoon for Conan, along with this short video incorporating the "I'm With Coco" image from Mike Mitchell to read "Coco Is With TBS."
But, wait. Didn't I bury the lede that my headline suggests? Right right. Conan O'Brien also begins his live stage tour of the United States and Canada tonight in Eugene, Ore. Team Coco's "Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television Tour" ends in Atlanta (home of TBS) on June 14. If you like that coincidence, how about this even bigger one…
The TBS Just For Laughs Chicago festival begins the very next day, running June 15-19. Last year, they presented George Lopez shows to help promote his upcoming late-night show. On March 23, when they announced the initial slate of headliners, they included TV specials for Ellen DeGeneres, Cedric the Entertainer, and "a third TV special to be announced later." Sources were coy when I asked them if Conan would be joining the fun in Chicago. I'm clearing my calendar already. And yes, I know he's taking the tour to Chicago already on May 19-20, but if you were hoping for a third Chicago date in June, keep hope alive.
As for the news they were comfortable announcing today…
Both Conan O'Brien and George Lopez gave separate statements for TBS and for Twitter.
Conan to TBS: "In three months I‚Äôve gone from network television to Twitter to performing live in theaters, and now I‚Äôm headed to basic cable. My plan is working perfectly."
Conan to Twitter: "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."
Lopez to TBS: ‚ÄúI can‚Äôt think of anything better than doing my show with Conan as my lead-in. It‚Äôs the beginning of a new era in late-night comedy.‚Äù
Lopez to Twitter: "Team LO-CO."
Their new mutual boss, Turner Entertainment's Steve Koonin, had this to say: ‚ÄúConan has been the comedic voice for a generation. TBS already has a huge audience of young comedy lovers, and Conan‚Äôs show will give these fans even more reasons to watch our network. For decades, late-night TV has been dominated by broadcast television. Now, with a young audience and a growing late-night lineup, TBS is set to be the choice of comedy fans for years to come.‚Äù
This is TBS truly being Very Funny.