So… Conan O’Brien has decided to go to TBS. Like him or not, get his comedy or not, Conan immediately brings a “hip” factor to TBS where it currently has none. Whether that will be enough to truly take the network to another level is a huge unknown at this point.
I have a feeling this announcement has taken the wind out of the sails of the “I’m With Coco” movement. For some reason, I think they wanted him to stay off TV and start some crazy live streaming Internet-only revolution from a shack in the desert. Sorry freaks. Perhaps you can steal your basic cable feed and still feel like a revolutionary.
This is a big bet for TBS but one it can certainly afford to take. Two revenue streams RULE! If it doesn’t work, they can always move “Lopez Tonight” (with its 1.0 rating) back to 11pm and put the always profitable “Ab Roller Deluxe” informercial on at midnight.
The biggest obstacle is the fact that TBS still feels (to me – and I’m not alone) like a network that airs nothing but “Mama’s Family” reruns and very low quality VHS tapes of 1980s comedies. I know this isn’t the case anymore and they actually do have some solid programming with “The Office” and “Family Guy” reruns, etc. and have had some success in original programming with all those Tyler Perry shows (What, are there 10 series now? All with 350 episode commitments?).
Imagine the spinmeisters at Turner the day after its debut: “Late Night Cable Talk Show’s Biggest Night Ever!”; “Conan Conquers Cable!”; “The Colbert Killer!”… “2.0 in Metered Markets – 18-49”… Okay, they won’t put that one in the Trades but that’s about what we can expect on the high end. If a 2.0 late night rating is worth a $100 million investment, then TBS has made the right move.
Personally, I think it IS the right move – if anything just to improve their image. All the other shit that’s on TBS will suddenly be given a second look which may make people slow down the remote as they’re passing by on their way to USA or FX.
For Conan, I think this is also the best move. Though if he ultimately fails on TBS, his career is over (unless he is willing to take the 1:30a.m. Last Call slot from what’s his name – that guy that dated Tara Reid). Not going to Fox and being beaten badly by Jay Leno was a very smart move by Conan. And a very smart move by Fox – which doesn’t have two revenue streams (yet) and, thus, doesn’t have money to burn.
So… good luck, Conan. You have made a good match. And I can’t wait to hear all those jokes you’ll make about what a crappy network TBS is. The crappy network that is paying you $100 million dollars.
Jill Kennedy – OnMedea