TBS Quietly Kills Lopez Tonight; Is Conan to Blame?

Lopez Tonight

Way back in early 2010, the hot topic in Hollywood was NBC’s bungling of its late-night talk shows. Jay Leno had been vilified for first moving to the 10pm slot with his execrable The Jay Leno Show, a ratings disaster that pulled viewers away from local news and the new, Conan O’Brien-hosted Tonight Show. Then Leno snatched back the 11:30pm slot from O’Brien, who in turn refused an offer to move to 12:30am—and came out of the fiasco the bullied, ginger victim, with only a $45 million settlement to ease the pain.

But from O'Brien's martyrdom grew an army of fervent, online supporters—“Team Coco,” they called themselves—and a new home on basic cable. TBS was really excited to have him (they even gave him his own blimp!), and to prove how much he meant to them, gave him the pimp spot of 11pm. That required moving the show currently in that timeslot—George Lopez Tonight—to midnight, which at the time struck me as being not entirely unlike what Leno had done to Conan. But public sympathy was working so much in O’Brien’s favor that Lopez’s show—which wasn’t breaking new ground but was still a solid, little late show that catered to minorities in ways that no other late show had done since the glory days of Arsenio Hall—would just have to suck it up. At the time, Lopez was publicly magnanimous about the arrangement.

That was a year ago. Both hosts' ratings were healthy at the start, but Conan began to erode viewers steadily, and Lopez Tonight, now extremely dependent on Conan as a lead-in (in much the way The Tonight Show was dependent onThe Jay Leno Show), saw its ratings plummet a dire 40 percent. In a recent appearance on Late Show with David Letterman, he admitted that he didn’t like the midnight slot. The writing was on the wall...or rather, in an impersonal statement announcing the cancellation of Lopez Tonight, released by TBS today. In an accolade attributed only to a “network spokesperson,” TBS named called “an immensely talented comedian and entertainer,” and said the network has “valued its partnership with George.” It’s as middle-finger as a cancellation gets.

And what’s next? There are reports that O’Brien will produce a follow-up show, in the way Letterman produced The Late Late Show (the Tom Snyder version and the two Craigs—Kilborn and now Ferguson). But the bigger issue, I think, is O’Brien’s viability as a late-night innovator. Before Conan, his Tonight Show always felt off to me—not because it was too young or edgy for the slot, but because it felt a little dated, actually. It was stuck in a specific time and place: the ‘90s, to be precise, in his tiny, Late Night studio at Rockefeller Center. As much as I never saw it coming, O'Brien was beaten at his own game by a talk show upstart who few thought could handle the gig. That's right: Jimmy Fallon, whose mastery of social media, sublime house band The Roots, and goofy, can-do spirit has all but reinvigorated the genre. For me, it’s The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, then Fallon if I’m still up. Sorry, Coco. The field’s just too crowded with great stuff.

Comments (57)
Submit
Sort: Latest | Popular
Aug 19, 2011
Lately (no pun intended), the only time I watch any of the Late Night shows is when I like the guest--typically great looking women. I like Letterman's Top 10, Fallon's Thank-you notes, Ferguson's stand-up, and Leno's Headlines. I find little to like about Conan's show nowadays. Don't know why since I was a fan before he joined the TBS lineup. Anyway, I usually just DVR them and skip the boring parts. Plus, despite what some people claim, all the bands are crappy. They are a distraction to me. Ferguson has the right idea despite claiming his budget is too low to support a band. It's just my opinion. For what it's worth, I'm into Heavy Metal and Hard Rock so don't get mad at me for disliking generic talk show bands (and yes, that includes The Roots). I used to watch Lopez when he had great women guests on. This last season his guest list has gotten less attractive to me and his usually funny white people jokes have gotten more derisive. But his humor has always been racially motivated IMHO. He makes fun of Hispanics too. That's actually one of the things I liked about him, he's broken many stereotypical barriers with his multi-ethnic insights and humor. I'm white. I can take a jibe. But many of my pale brothers don't share the sentiment. As a result Lopez has gotten the reputation that he was prejudiced against whites. That's a shame. He's an equal oportunity comedian. He's prejudiced against everybody! I'll miss him.
More+
Reply
Flag
Aug 18, 2011
Please stop rewriting history. NBC told Leno two years before that Conan was going to take the Tonight show. Leno was disapointed but a good sport. NBC got nervous about losing Leno and gave him the 10:00 show. He had deep reservations, but went along. The show sucked, no arguement. Leno was not Conan;s lead in. The local news was. Conan bombed all on his own. (Letterman did beat the Tonight show when Conan was host.) NBC then dumped Conan and asked (begged) Leno to come back. Conan blamed Leno and not NBC, or himself. I lost all respect for Conan. Leno rocks!! Please stop blaming Jay!! He was more of a victim in all this than Conan.
Reply
Flag
Aug 18, 2011
The fact that they put Lopez up against the Tonight Show (no matter who the host is) was a ludicrous move on TBS part. Ever since Carson made the Tonight Show a late night icon NOBODY has ever been able to beat it in the late night ratings war. Just ask Letterman. He has not been able to beat the Tonight Show since he went to CBS. And even with the debacle of two years ago with Leno and O'Brien, the Tonight Show always wins its time slot. So TBS blew it by sacraficing Lopez in a ratings battle against the Tonight Show. To me, that is NOT very smart programing in my mind. All I can say is I hope Lopez can find another network that will find him a successful vehicle for his enormous comedic talents. GO GEORGE!
Reply
Flag
Aug 18, 2011
After TBS spent millions on brand new sets and promotion, and THEN gave him 2 years to get his sh*t together......who's he going to blame this time?

He was so nasty when they cancelled his sitcom, but now? Mmmm, common denominator is....?
Reply
Flag
Aug 18, 2011
make lopez the LEAD IN at 10pm and it would work better for both shows!
Reply
Flag
Aug 18, 2011
Excellent!!! Maybe fill the slot with someone who has actual talent..
Reply
Flag
Aug 18, 2011
Totally sux! While I wasn't a consistent watcher, I did enjoy his show when I caught it. Gonna miss it.
Reply
Flag
Aug 12, 2011
Ah that sucks. So long George.
Reply
Flag
Aug 12, 2011
Maybe Lopez could come be Conan's new sidekick. I like them together, when he's appeared on Conan. And I sure wouldn't miss Andy >.>
Reply
Flag
Aug 19, 2011
Sounds like a good idea at first. Problem is that George's ego wouldn't allow it. The sidekick is supposed to be a 'second banana,' without a voice. He's just suppose to echo the host's quips. That's why Andy is so effective. George wouldn't be able to resist making his own observations and taking over the discussion from the guests just like he did on his own show.
Reply
Flag
Aug 12, 2011
Lopez is leaving? Well I guess this really is the beginning of the end for Late Night TV, although I stopped watching when Johnny left and Letterman got screwed but know corporate is has taken over and look at the results of all that back stabbing.

The end of Late Night, in a few years most in shows will go by way of the morning soap operas and most news papers, so say goodnight to Late Night.

Sorry Lopez I kind of liked your show.

Reply
Flag
Aug 12, 2011
aww too bad
Reply
Flag
Aug 11, 2011
Apples and Oranges.



It wasn't that Leno moved him. It's that Leno stepped down and walked away, gave him the show to do prime-time, and when it failed decided to take back his old spot.



In short: here let me give you your professional life's dream... OK never mind I'm taking it away from you.



Sure, Leno is partially to blame while the NBC execs are also jerks.

Reply
Flag
Aug 11, 2011
Conan is far far far better than fallon... OMG



I think is more like Letterman vs Conan



For me its a TIE...



I tried, but i cant like Fallon... He`s just better in SNL...



Reply
Flag
Aug 11, 2011
Why so much negativity against Conan?

He was "invited" by Lopez on TBS, who maybe wanted better ratings for his show having a lead-in that was all over the news in February '10, or maybe he was pushed by the excecutives to say so.

I liked Lopez, but not too funny and, you're right - there is a little bit crowded in Late Night TV.

But, it's not like Lopez had already established a franchise or a trademark in LateNight, it was only his second season, while Conan has been there forever. Coco is funnier and also attracts more young audience, that for cable networks is solid.

I'd really like to see Conan creating/producing something after his show, and we shouldn't expected it to "bloom" immediately, but with time passing we'll get interested in that too. Coco is here to stay, I think, and maybe he can do better than Letterman did. Also Coco made much more plug-in for Lopez than Dave does for Craig in his show, he never mentions him.

p.s. Craig far in the lead, then Coco, Jon and Colbert is my choice for Late Night Television
Reply
Flag
Aug 11, 2011
There is an abundance of conflicting opinions here about which Late Night host is the funniest. Many say Ferguson, others still have love for Coco, and there's a few who like what Fallon has done with the genre. This has led to a lot of dissension and vitriolically charged arguments over who is the Late Night King. I just want to say, can't we all unanimously agree, without any quarreling or contention, that Jay Leno is undeniably and unequivocally the biggest D-bag of the lot.
Reply
Flag
Aug 19, 2011
Leno a #1 D-bag? Not even close. But maybe being a D-bag is what it takes to be number one in the Late Night TV arena, which Leno is if you can believe the ratings. However, Fallon is number two and few would call him a D-bag--unfunny, possibly--but NOT because he is unlikeable. In my opinion the biggest D-bag of them all is Howard Stern. He has made a career of being a D-bag. He's the King-of-All-Media D-Bags. All his sidekicks are D-bags, with the possible exception of Robin (whom I hope recovers well from her recent hit and run accident). Which explains why I like Stern and his act so much.... Although, radio and TV are rife with D-bags that make a pretty good living off of their angst and objectionable opinions (Glenn Beck, Limbaugh, Hannity) Jay Leno is nowhere near the top of the rather smelly heap!
Reply
Flag
Aug 12, 2011
I'd put Leno even a level lower. I think it's even an insult to all the D-bag's out there that they have to take him into their drum circle. But then again - he has perfected the style of obsequious conduct, which is a must to be introduced into the hall of fame of mammals without brains.
Reply
Flag
Aug 12, 2011
That is something I think we can definitely all agree on.
Reply
Flag
Aug 12, 2011
I agree with you. I like Fallon, I like letterman and LOVE Conan, but Jay Leno IS a HUGE, HUGE D-bag!
Reply
Flag
Aug 19, 2011
I disagree. Leno did nothing wrong. Anyone who thinks so doesn't know the whole story. He was #1 before and #1 now, and it was shameful for NBC to force someone in #1 to step down. It is NBC's fault for worrying over losing Conan in 2004 that they made that stupid promise to him; and Conan's greed that instead of enjoying a perfect time slot for his brand of humor and great ratings, he demanded the Tonight Show. He couldn't keep up the numbers, then whined when all they asked is he move back one half hour. Then he got 45 million dollars. Now he is flopping on a basic cable station. Poor baby.
Reply
Flag
Aug 11, 2011
What the hell is up with these people talking bout George Lopez isn't funny. I don't know what world they're living in, but this guy actually has made a living as a comedian. Conan, jay Leno and Fallon they ARE NOT funny a t al l. Racism is what it is i tell ya!!
Reply
Flag
Aug 18, 2011
Oh, but George fired/replacing an actor on his sitcom because SHE wasn't Hispanic like the rest of the cast, isn't racist I guess. Oh, wait, it was "creative differences" as George said.



So, you don't like Conan eh? What do you have against Gingers? ;o> LOL
Reply
Flag
Aug 15, 2011
Ok maybe you are right and there is a bit of racism going on, but you cant say Lopez is funny because he "has made a living as a comedian" and not use the same rational on Conan, Leno and Fallon because obviously they have too.
Reply
Flag
Aug 11, 2011
I never watched 'The Tonight Show' (or any late night talk show) to see Conan, Leno, Carson or whichever show's host ; I watched to see the guests and usually *The Tonight Show* had the best guests. To me, the role of a talk show host is to "provide the atmosphere" for the guests to star; not be the star in an atmosphere of guests.
Reply
Flag
Aug 11, 2011
I can't stand George Lopez and I don't find him that funny either, so I am quite pleased about this news.
Reply
Flag
Aug 11, 2011
This is just karma for Lopez stealing his wife's kidney and then kicking her to the curb.
Reply
Flag
Aug 11, 2011
As a few have said before me: Craig Ferguson wins. And as a young hip dude, I say Jimmy Fallon is quite bad: his monologue is the worst I've ever seen from any late night host, and he's not much of an interviewer either (Conan's pretty bad at being an interviewer too [*looks down at card* "Uhhhh, I have to talk about this..."). The biggest compliment I can give Late Night is that The Roots are awesome.
Reply
Flag
Aug 11, 2011
Well, Leno's not a great interviewer either. He doesn't engage in conversation, only looks for an opening to insert a lame joke. Other than that he's looking at his cue cards while the interviewee is talking.
Reply
Flag
Aug 12, 2011
I completely agree. I'd go so far and say that neither of the "big all star" late show hosts are good interviewers. Leno and Conan are the worst. Letterman still has some good old school moves and does have quick wits but doesn't break grounds and follows the rules of the network and the fcc. Fallon wants to be liked by everybody the same as Leno and is just plain lame. The only one that knows how to surprise and "talk" outside of the box is Craig Ferguson.
Reply
Flag
Aug 11, 2011
the late late show is funny. fallon. dont like him. tryed to watch stuff he has been in and cant stand it
Reply
Flag
Aug 11, 2011
Im sorry did this article... actually just compliment Jimmy Fallon?....he is by far the worst host I have ever seen
Reply
Flag
Aug 11, 2011
I love listening Adam Carolla's show and the name Conan or Leno come up. Hear about how great of a guy Leno is and what a douche Conan is. I've only watched one episode of Conan on TBS (when his guests were Christina Aguilera and Zachrey Levi, My 2 favorites). What did I see from Conan? The Conan Blimp following Gary Busey, a Harry Potter Trailer "Where's My Nose?" and telling viewers about a ringtone on the TBS that they can buy now and then backtracking and telling them not to buy them. The faster people realizes that Conan isn't the greatest person on TV the better.
Reply
Flag
Aug 11, 2011
My favourite will always be The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.
Reply
Flag
Aug 11, 2011
No, it's not Conan's fault. It's just that Lopez is unfunny.
Reply
Flag
Aug 11, 2011
Does this person below even watch Conan? He makes fun of the network, like, once a month. As does George Lopez.
Reply
Flag
Aug 11, 2011
Conan is next. TBS can't sustain the costs for a show with ratings as low as he is getting (even though TBS execs said they "couldn't be happier" with Conan's ratings). One of the main problems I have with Conan and why I think audiences just can't get on board and watch every night is that he constantly makes fun of TBS as being a 'crappy' network. Even though we know he's joking, it's no way to build up a platform for success. He just can't get over losing The Tonight Show. It's sad.



http://mankabros.com/blogs/onmedea/2010/11/15/tbs-go-get-your-shinebox/

Reply
Flag
Aug 11, 2011
The Late Late Show with TV's Craig Ferguson is by far the best late night talk show on the air.
Reply
Flag
Aug 11, 2011
It is Conan's fault. George was OK until TBS made him move for Conan. TBS wanted George gone before he started blaming Conan the same way that Conan blamed Jay. You know the deal, George starts attacking Conan, Conan does his "Why me, Lord?" crybaby routine with backup from Andy Richter, and then it gets ugly. Conan sucks as a lead in and his ego refuses to let him admit it. That is probably why his old bandleader, Max Weinberg of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band left and went back to New Jersey. Max knew that there would be trouble. They would both be gone, but Conan's contract is in the way of TBS canceling him. Maybe George should take his show to http://ustream.tv ?
Reply
Flag
Aug 11, 2011
Actually, Lopez offered his former time slot to Conan.
Reply
Flag
Aug 11, 2011
The only good late show imo are Colbert Report and Daily Show.
Reply
Flag
Aug 11, 2011
@JonathanHetr is not wrong. Conan O'Brien initially refused TBS's offer because he didn't want to do to Lopez what Leno had done to him. It was only after Lopez's insistence that Conan agreed to host the show. That all being said, I can't say that I've ever liked Lopez. I'm not a huge Fallon fan at all either, sorry Seth. For me, I alternate between Craig Ferguson and Conan. Leno is not my favourite, and Lettermen has just gotten old. Fallon's not the worst, but Conan and Ferguson are better.
Reply
Flag
Aug 11, 2011
No Conan is not to blame. The bump to midnight didn't help, but Lopez's monologues were just horrible. The show to me was a big disappointment. As a stand-up comedian he is good. Talk show host.... Uh .... I'm glad it's cancelled.
Reply
Flag
Aug 11, 2011
I think Mr. Lopez alienated many white people with his over the top Latino jokes, Creepy Little White Girl, etc. All in good humor IMO but the White Man is still in charge. Too bad. Sad to see George go.
Reply
Flag
Aug 11, 2011
I only watch Craig Ferguson now... Bone Patrol forever!!!!!
Reply
Flag
Aug 12, 2011
Yeah, I started watching awhile ago and was really shocked. Doesn't really do rehearsals , tearing the cue cards up to Shreds, Really talking to the guests (WHAT?) , sometimes they don't talk about the "project" and forget to air the clip ! It's the way a talk show should be. He is a funny guy and it doesn't feel like a stand up routine, or staged. It's natural for him.



Give him a bigger budget , I want to see Jeff fully articulated. Real Walking Full Size Humanoid Robots__Ahhhh!
Reply
Flag
Aug 11, 2011
Good, lets keep this racist off TV please.
Reply
Flag
Aug 11, 2011
I've always liked Coco, so I'm ashamed to admit I really don't watch his new show. The program feels like more of the same old thing that we have way too much of already. I'm simply burned out on the rigid paint-by-numbers late nite talk show format that's been done to death and sucked dry of any spontaneity. You know the drill by heart: a monologue at the top with lame political jokes, a loud, screeching band, an audience clapping and shrieking like they're being electrocuted, and the obligatory uninteresting "stars" promoting uninteresting movies. Kimmel and Fallon do it (though they they both strike me as kids filling in until the grown-ups come back), Letterman, Lopez, and the mummified remains of Jay Leno do it. I'm the only one not doing it! I'd like to watch Conan if only he'd do something--anything--to change this tired, predictable format.
Reply
Flag
Aug 11, 2011
Yeah, I found it weird that Conan didn't reinvigorate the show when he had the chance, even on the Tonight Show. The format has been stale for a long time.
Reply
Flag
Aug 11, 2011
Conan had to be convinced by Lopez to take the offer because he didn't want this very thing to happen. Lopez is to blame for trying so hard to get Conan to TBS to push himself to midnight.
Reply
Flag
Aug 11, 2011
Lopez Tonight never seemed appealing to me, so I don't really care about it being canceled. I like Conan though, his audience interaction is great, and Andy is a great great sidekick/partner for Conan. But that's about it for the show, the monologues are rarely funny, (with he exception of when the audience is involved) the interviews are rarely anything really special, and it's gotten a bit repetitive. ("Looks goood") I still watch it a lot, but I look much more forwards to Fallon, or Craig Ferguson, when it comes to my late-night picks.
Reply
Flag
Aug 11, 2011
Adios
Reply
Flag
Aug 11, 2011
Conan is not blame - the Tea Party is
Reply
Flag
Aug 18, 2011
Guess that's the new "Blame Bush." ;-)
Reply
Flag
Aug 11, 2011
You forgot Craig Ferguson - I love him!
Reply
Flag
Aug 11, 2011
Please God no don't cancel Conan. I love it!!
Reply
Flag
Aug 11, 2011
Me too!
Reply
Flag

Like TV.com on Facebook