Conan O’Brien, after prematurely departing from NBC’s "The Tonight Show," is being mulled over by several sources, including Fox.
While fans of Conan would enjoy seeing him back in late-night, syndicators are frowning as a Fox/Conan late-night show might wreck havoc on syndicated content in those time slots, B&C reports.
Stations airing late-night syndicated sitcoms tend to keep half of the ad inventory for themselves. A Conan show would take that hour back for the network, cutting the station’s ad inventory in half, and could cost stations tens of millions of dollars.
Syndicators are also on the hook, as many have content to sell. Not the least of these is Twentieth Television, which recently renewed "Family Guy" for a second cycle, and is in various stages of prepping "How I Met Your Mother," "American Dad," "It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia," and "Modern Family" for syndication.
One less hour, or a pushed back hour of broadcast, could have a drastic effect on ad rates and viewership, B&C reports
"It’s a near-term versus long-term strategy," syndication guru Bill Carroll tells B&C. Carroll, VP of programming for Katz Media Group, continued, "In the short term, even under the best of circumstances, Fox will take a hit if it picks up Conan, but the question is how much. In the long term, Fox would be building a potential franchise in a time period that it could program forever. That’s why the other networks are in that game."