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TBS Gets It Right - OnMedea

TBS Gets It Right

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conan_o_brien_tbs.jpgSo... 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?).

tbs.jpgBut adding Conan puts TBS on a different level - a network level with a big advantage - they don't need Leno-size ratings to call it a "hit". 

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_small.jpgJill Kennedy - OnMedea

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Molly Glover said:

I didn't watch Conan on NBC and won't watch him on TBS. I do think if he went to Comedy Central in - say - the post-Colbert time slot - even for a lot less money - he would have maintained his cult status. Now, I think everyone will call bullshit.

Hollywood Producer said:

Absolutely right. He really should have gone to a network that people respect or that has a certain amount of industry buzz. Comedy Central would have been good. Even Spike would have been better than TBS. TBS is so old to me regardless of their demographics. I actually think it would have been great if he did the desert shack streaming thing. He could have been a hero to many.

Alba D said:

I'm not sure they get it right. I think Conan is going to have trouble. He's not going to beat The Daily Show and the best rating the Daily Show gets is about 1 million people. So he's looking at a rating somewhere below 1.0. I think your rating for George Lopez is generous, Jill.

Ben Silverman's Dad said:

this is totally an announcement to upstage my son's keynote address at the MIPTV conference.

Jill Kennedy said:

Depression will set in once Conan realizes he's going to be spending the next 5 years doing a nightly talk show for TBS. Money aside, it really has no prestige.

martin said:

Most of the comments miss the point of Conan going to TBS.
While a surprise move, it was a great move!
This talk about the Daily Show and Colbert is b.s. Just look at the numbers, they don't get the numbers...the numbers are great for cable, but not for anything else.
Conan will bust through Colbert/Daily Show's numbers in a heartbeat. Don't believe me? Just look at Lopez's numbers, he pulls a respectable (for cable) number of about 1 million viewers a night.
Lopez has no buzz, Conan does. Why do you think Lopez called Conan and asked him to come to TBS? Conan will blow out not only Lopez's numbers, but also Colbert/Daily Show's numbers, too. Lopez will receive a huge spillover effect from Conan. In fact, I would not doubt it already has started, as I for one now watch Lopez since the Conan TBS announcement.
And, forgot to mention the main point I wanted to make: Conan on TBS will have over 100 Million sets of eyeballs available to him from Day 1, which is pretty close to the approximate 110 Million sets of eyeballs available to him on traditional television. Fox's affiliates may have have caused the number of available sets of eyeballs on Day 1 to be much less than 100 Million, so going to cable's TBS was a smart move!

About Jill Kennedy

Jill Kennedy - Blogger - OnMedea Jill Kennedy is an Ivy League MBA / refugee from Lehman Brothers.

Manka Bros. (and the Manka Business Channel) hired her (for a very low sum) to cover the world of media (not the world of Medea) in her own words without corporate interference.

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About Medea

Medea Medea was a real bitch from classical mythology - as most famously dramatized by Euripides.

She was a sorceress and wife of Jason, whom she assisted in obtaining the Golden Fleece. When Jason deserted her, she chopped up their children. One could say, Medea acted as rationally as a major media company.


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