Fox Moves Closer to a Conan Latenight Show; Some Serious Hurdles Remain

Mar 17, 2010  •  Post A Comment

Fox Broadcasting is hoping to finalize a deal to bring Conan O’Brien to its latenight airwaves in time to announce it during the network’s upfront on May 17, reports Meg James at the Los Angeles Times.

Those close to the comedian are also hopeful that a deal can be made, according to the article.

One key element to be worked out, the paper says, is whether O’Brien’s camp thinks it can put on the show for less than $60 million annually, far less than the nearly $90 million that NBC spent, including O’Brien’s salary.

Citing sources, the paper says that top executives, including Rupert Murdoch are on board with bringing O’Brien onboard, but the issue of getting affiliates to give up the lucrative time remains another key hurdle. But last week, the paper says, Fox Entertainment president Kevin Reilly and Entertainment chairman Peter Rice came up with plan that works financially for the network.

According to James’ report, "The major hurdle comes from Fox stations, which are obligated to air reruns at specific time periods, in some cases after the 10 p.m. news. That would mean forcing a proposed O’Brien show, at least initially, to air at different time periods: 11 p.m. in some markets, 11:30 — or later — in other cities.

"Without a uniform start time, it would be hard to get traction for a show and hard to promote it," said Jason Maltby, a top ad buyer for the firm Mindshare. "Saying, ‘Check your local listings’ doesn’t have the same ring to it as saying, ‘ "The Tonight Show at 11:35 p.m." ‘ "

The report says it could be up to two years before some affiliates could run the show at 11 p.m.

If a deal with Fox isn’t consummated, O’Brien will consider his options on cable, the report says.


  1. I hope he makes it on the air, so he can TWO “epic fails”! Let’s face it: He’s a funny guy in late, late night — but not regular late night. There’s a certain grown-up sensibility during and just after the news on weeknights. People are not sleeping in the next morning, for one thing, because they don’t live in their parents’ basement or some dorm. They have lives that don’t stray to the extraordinary goofy type of humor. They want to laugh instead of say “ew” or “that’s weird” — so perverted bears and insult dogs don’t work before midnight. The audience will always belong to a mainstream comic, like a Carson or a Leno. People tire quickly of the Arsenios and Conans.

  2. I like the ‘Masterbating Bear’ and the ‘Insult Dog’, and Conan needs to do more of that crazy amount of stuff. The problem is that NBC suits felt the show needed to be more ‘homogenized’ and in effect, ruined the show – that and the writers were pretty horrid in coming up with comedic concepts. They will now need to come up with a name for the show – perhaps ‘Night With Conan O’Brian’ or ‘Twilight With Conan O’Brian’…however, I’m sure by now Conan and Fox have come up with a name that works by now. Obvious, I’ll tune in with the rest of the nation to see the refurbished Conan!-)

  3. What everyone seems to be missing is that Conan just isn’t that funny. He’s a juvenile middle-age guy who failed miserably at NBC once he moved into a time slot that matters. Love him if you like, but he’s not going to be a late-night star.

  4. Between me and my husband we’ve owned more MP3 players over the years than I can count, including Sansas, iRivers, iPods (classic & touch), the Ibiza Rhapsody, etc. But, the last few years I’ve settled down to one line of players. Why? Because I was happy to discover how well-designed and fun to use the underappreciated (and widely mocked) Zunes are.

  5. Hands down, Apple’s app store wins by a mile. It’s a huge selection of all sorts of apps vs a rather sad selection of a handful for Zune. Microsoft has plans, especially in the realm of games, but I’m not sure I’d want to bet on the future if this aspect is important to you. The iPod is a much better choice in that case.

  6. Nicely said.

  7. Awesome blog, nice writing 🙂

  8. I really like the colors here on your blog. did you design this yourself or did you outsource it to a professional?

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