Winners and Losers in the Conan-TBS Deal

Yesterday's announcement that Conan O'Brien would be headlining a late-night talk show over at TBS was a bit of a shocker, but when you think of it, it may just be the best move possible for all parties involved. Likewise, TBS' gain was others' losses, as the in-demand redhead slipped out of the grips of several suitors. Let's see who came out on top and who dropped like a rock.

Winner: TBS. The cable network went from home of The Office reruns to the elite rung of the basic cable ladder, joining the likes of USA Network, AMC, and FX. By adding Conan, TBS now has a legitimate late-night threat with O'Brien and George Lopez, who has been surprisingly strong with Lopez Tonight.

Winner: Conan O'Brien. Getting kicked out of his NBC spot may be a blessing in disguise for Conan. He's got the support of the people on his side as he embraces the role of lovable underdog. And on TBS, he'll be giving much more free reign to do his show the way he wants to. Which means you can expect more insanity along the lines of self-pleasuring stuffed animals.

Loser: NBC. Every positive thing that happens to Conan O'Brien is just another reminder that NBC is more of a bonehead. No one is inviting NBC to their birthday parties this year.

Winner: George Lopez. Lopez may be the biggest winner of all in this situation. Sure Conan's making the big bucks and TBS will reap the benefits of the deal, but Lopez goes from just another guy trying a late-night talk show to the guy who follows Conan O'Brien. He's also come out of the whole thing looking like the guy who helped make this deal happen. Well played, Mr. Lopez. Well played.

Loser: Fox, but not by a whole lot. Fox almost had him, but couldn't pull the deal off. Had they hooked him, they would have entered the late-night fray. Now they're still devoid of anything of note late night. But hey, late night isn't their game and they know it.

Loser: Jay Leno. He may be doing fine in his return to his old digs at NBC, but Leno just has this stench of betrayal on him that he can't shake. And seeing Conan move on to these other exciting opportunities doesn't help the situation at all.

Winner: Cable Television. Network television takes another blow as the hipper, cooler basic cable channels continue to show the major networks up. Ask anyone under the age of 20 if they know the difference between cable and broadcast networks.

Winner: You! With Conan starting over on a network that will let him do whatever he wants and pay his budget, expect a return to form from O'Brien, who never really got into the groove on The Tonight Show. And when Conan is on, we all win.


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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The fact of the matter is that NBC royally screwed up by moving Conan to the Tonight Show. Conan is a funny guy, no doubt...but his appeal is to an entirely different demographic than what The Tonight Show aims to get. Conan's brand of comedy is not The Tonight Show brand of comedy. If he had stayed, he would have had to compromise on material and guests and that is something he should not have to do. Unfortunately for him, Jay Leno did the same thing...he was shooting for a demographic that his new show couldn't target. People still wanted to see Leno, but at 11:30, not 10. Conan really doesn't have a whole lot of room to be upset...TBS is going to let him call virtually all the shots on his new show, is most likely paying him an inflated salary and he DID get, what, a $45 million dollar payout (with only 12 million of that going to his staff, the rest to him) from NBC. In both short and long term, this is the best thing that could happen to Conan and also the best scenario for Leno.
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Nobody found it disgusting that Conan had no problem pushing Jay out of his job. Peachy
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Yay Conan!
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!cOCo!
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Weak, hokey punditry. Although NBC upper-management really fumbled by giving Conan the ball in the first place, the real failing was moving Leno to an earlier time-slot to push an untested, unproven show. Although Leno might work for the Tonight Show, the guy isn't much of a draw on his own.
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@marvelfan89 you do realize that you have absolutely NO IDEA wtf you are talking about. Conan wasn't kicked for "not being funny enough", Jay stole his old job back by failing at his "new" show. Conan was doing fine just because he wasn't 1st in the ratings doesn't mean Jay deserved to crawl to his old job back. And btw what facts??? wtf are you talking about you are comparing apples and oranges. Conan hosted late night show for 16 years and Leno hosted the tonight show for 17 years, big whoop! 2 different shows! and how the f*** can you compare Leno's 17 years with Conan's months it's 2 completely different periods of time not to mention their comedy styles are completely different. It's very simple, if you don't like it don't watch it! And just because you like one of them doesn't mean you have to hate the other. Personally I used to enjoy Leno but not anymore, it's just me but I found it disgusting what he did.
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You should add Loser: Canadians, as we don't have TBS in Canada.
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This is really funny to read, you know how many viewers GEORGE LOPEZ gets at 11PM? He gets about 1 million. Oh yes folks. And I don't see Conan doing much better. And he will be up against Cable funnyman Jon Stewart at 11PM as well then up against the network late nighters at 11:30. I see the writer of this article carefully forgot to mention all that. Good job.
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Team Coco!! The Cone Zone!
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Conan Sucks, Jay Rules
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I don't have cable, so speak for yourself, Tim. As a Conan fan doomed to yesterday's scratchy Hulu clips, I don't feel like a winner here.
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As for whose a loser and whose a winner actually all the parties involved are winners. It is pretty hilarious that people blamed Leno for Conan moving out, but they have no problem with Conan pushing Lopez down a full hour for his show. Anyways, TBS needs this right now. Fox has a lucrative deal with its affiliate running reruns, so deep down, I doubt they really care what happens with Conan or Leno. All in all like I said everybody got what they want.
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He's got a proven track record that's why he has an audience. Led the Tonight Show for twelve years. How long did Conan's Tonight show last? What a couple of lifeless months? Opinions are opinions facts are facts. Saying Leno isn't funny is an opinion, but the facts prove otherwise. Conan is funny of course, but the fact he couldn't do what Leno with his show.
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I cannot fathom why Jay Leno still has an audience. Aside from not being that funny, he's now been proven to be a self-obsesssed snake. I truly wish he would just go away.
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I think Jay Leno and NBC are coming out of this pretty good. Leno is back on top of late night and try as hard as he might Conan will never beat him. He's on basic cable and his ratings are not going to be as high as they would on a network.
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I just hope we'll have it in Canada.
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@IshaiH I agree with you when you said that coco without pressure was hilarious! really conan went old school the last 2 weeks of his show LOL hopefully it will be like that all the time at TBS. Go Team CoCo!!!
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@SamBerns: Broadcast networks would be NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, CW, MyNetwork TV, Ion, and PBS. Cable is pretty much anything else.
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Coco...Lopez...dammit, now I want some Coquito.
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coco + lopez.. i expect great things from tbs's new late night lineup.. looking forward to it
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Completely agree
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The best thing about this deal is that Conan will have plenty of time to develop his new show. When he started late night, the ratings for that hours weren't so important (there was no competition at that time slot back then) and he was given a long long time to get his act together. I think FOX would've expected good ratings faster than TBS will, and I think Conan does much better when there's no pressure (his best shows were during the writers strike and the last two weeks on the tonight show, when it didn't really matter what he did)
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If he went to FOX I would never watch his show again. Can't be giving ratings to that evil conglomerate!
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Im under 20, whats the difference between cable and broadcast networks.
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From what I've read, TBS has a fairly high viewership regarding people under 32 years old... which is Conan's audience. I'm kind of surprised he didn't go to Fox... but then again, this is 2010. Most homes have at least basic cable and pretty much all of those homes have TBS. Though I've never really watched his show, George Lopez is a much better following act then Jimmy Fallon for Jay and that could potentially help Conan's ratings.

I'm guessing Conan will have much more creative control on TBS than on a Fox or whatever, which is good.
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I'm glad to hear it all worked out for Coco in the end. Lets just hope he destroys Leno's ratings and justice is served.
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yay conan! now he wont have the stupid network to restrict comedy genius
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