Winners and Losers in the Conan-TBS Deal

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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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